The Indian branch of Google confirmed on Wednesday that a deal has been brokered with the Indian Premier League to allow live broadcasting of IPL cricket matches via YouTube, the Google-owned online video service.
The 2010 Indian Premier League schedule starts on March 12 and concludes on April 25, using Twenty20 cricket rules and operating a lucrative franchise system, and matches would be available to users whose countries are not covered by a pre-existing agreement with another broadcaster.
Television rights already exist in India and Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand, North America, South Africa and Nigeria. The Middle Eastern region is covered by an agreement with Arab Digital Distribution.
Among others, cricket fans in the UK could stand to benefit, as the now-bankrupt Setanta Sports GB used to hold the rights until the firm's collapse in June of 2009.
Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has been used to host public addresses by regal and political heads of state, as well as to broadcast a number of live concerts and exclusive music videos for pop fans. In 2008, the company itself used the service to stream its YouTube Live event. Google took ownership of the company in 2005 and by 2008 it was estimated to have an annual revenue of $200 million (€140m).