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Live IPL cricket to stream on YouTube

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Live IPL cricket to stream on YouTube
Cricket fans in the UK will soon be able to watch live matches from the Indian Premier League on video streaming site YouTube, it has emerged.

Officially confirmed today, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has struck a two-year deal with YouTube-owner Google for live and on-demand access to 60 games from the league.

From the start of the third IPL season on March 12, viewers around the world will be able to tune in to the IPL YouTube channel to watch the coverage. However, US users will only get access to on-demand matches.

Alongside coverage from the games, the channel will carry player interviews and other selected content, such as 'wickets of the match', 'top sixes' and pitch reports.

YouTube has already streamed highlights from the IPL on its dedicated channel, along with carrying footage from yesterday's pre-season player auction for 51 global cricket stars. However, the website is keen to explore more options for hosting major sporting and entertainment events going forward.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said that TV broadcasting still remains a big focus for the league, but the YouTube deal offers "tremendous potential for the future".

"Google have never done this before. This is a first for the whole of sport. Commercially it means we will be able to reach new audiences and shows why sponsors want to be associated with us. Individual sponsors will be able to cut their own footage to suit their own needs. The possibilities are endless," he said.

"We do not have a live feed in the UK. People in the UK keep asking me why they can’t see it. Now if they have a broadband connection they can get it for free. We are in talks with all broadcasters in the UK but we would rather give it away free than let some of them make money out of us and the consumer. It is about broadening the fan base, after that everything follows."

Sony Entertainment Television and World Sport Group jointly hold domestic and global rights to the IPL after agreeing a $1.2bn ten-year deal. The two firms have subsequently re-sold the rights to a range of global broadcasters.

However, a linear TV deal in the UK remains open following the collapse of Setanta, which previously held both TV and web rights to the tournament.

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