The company is in negotiations with both the National Basketball Association and National Hockey Leage to start broadcasting live pro-basketball and ice hockey games, according to a Bloomberg report.
YouTube, the de facto website for user-generated video content, has viewers spending 15 minutes on the site daily, on average. While that figure isn’t unimpressive by any means, YouTube is constantly looking for more effective ways to wrest people away from their TVs, and sports content certainly is one of its biggest draws. With the IPL event, viewers spent an average of 40 minutes watching each cricket match, said Google’s director of content partnerships Gautam Anand.
According to the report, Google is in talks with not only North American pro-sports leagues but soccer leagues in Europe. Securing the rights to broadcast major sports would surely cost Google a fair amount, but it would also bring in major ad revenue for the company. It could also be the first step towards YouTube, or other Google services, serving as a social hub for live sporting events. Whether this will happen is something that we’ll find out in the coming months as there was no substantial response to the statement from neither the NBA or NHL.
In addition to sports, Google is in the process of increasing other types of content on YouTube, including longer clips of movies and TV shows in an effort to compete with the likes of Hulu and Netflix, as well as streaming live music events. YouTube has had successful efforts with music before: one of the biggest live music streams was of a U2 concert that could be watched in 16 different countries back in October, 2009.