YouTube has signed its first deal to broadcast sport live on the internet.
Its contract with the Indian Premier League has surprised media analysts because it allows YouTube to stream live coverage in every country including those where TV deals for the IPL are already in place (apart from the USA).
F1 rights holders FOA should consider a similar deal. It could bring in more revenue and promote Formula 1 to YouTube’s huge audience. What’s not to like?
F1 is broadcast on television in many countries. FOA has largely left it to television companies to arrange internet broadcasts – and so legal internet streams are the exception rather than the rule.
Britain has had live internet broadcasts of F1 races for the last two years. Few other countries do, however, and progress is slow. When American broadcaster Speed TV extended its contract to show the sport last month it included a deal to show video clips online – but not live races.
There is clearly demand for live race broadcasts online, particularly in countries which don’t have F1 broadcasts on television. During our live blogs during F1 sessions at F1 Fanatic there are always requests for video feeds.
YouTube already has a connection with F1 via CEO Chad Hurley’s investment in the US F1 team. The new outfit has embraced online video and has already shared some interesting behind-the-scenes footage on YouTube.
The site streams over one billion videos per day and already offers HD support for when F1 finally gets on board with modern video quality standards.
FOA goes to great lengths to take down F1 video posted on YouTube but it should be embracing the massive opportunity it offers rather than shunning it.
Bernie Ecclestone helped transform F1 into a globally recognised sport through his television broadcasting deals in the 1970s. F1 is in danger of missing out on the next revolution in broadcasting if he does not take note of the massive potential of internet streaming.
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