YouTube starts streaming live sport

Tired of squinting at blocky live football streams from suspect Russian websites? Well, there might soon be an alternative – YouTube has announced tha

Tired of squinting at blocky live football streams from suspect Russian websites? Well, there might soon be an alternative – YouTube has announced that it'll be streaming all 60 matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket from March.

Sure, it's not exactly the football World Cup, but this is a big first step from the Google-owned site towards offering a (potentially free) online alternative to the subscription-only broadcasters like Sky and ESPN.

Like the U2 concert that YouTube streamed in October 2009 – which attracted a staggering 10 million viewers – the IPL coverage will be free, though the debt-laden site is looking for sponsors and backers to generate some cash.

If the IPL attracts lots of viewers, it's likely that YouTube will attempt to muscle in on the rights of the big broadcast players for other sports. There'll be some wait for English football though – Sky and ESPN have already bagged the UK broadcast and online rights to the Premier League until 2013, so it'll only be events (like the IPL) that haven't sold their UK rights for now. Live Malaysian table tennis, anyone?

via Brand Republic