Bloomberg reports that Google is currently engaged in negotiations with both the NBA and the NHL as it attempts to secure broadcasting rights to live games.
YouTube aims to show more live sports in the second half of the year, said Gautam Anand, Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, in an interview in Seoul yesterday. He declined to give details of the discussions with the NBA and NHL.
Though wildly popular, Google hasn’t yet figured out an optimal way to monetize YouTube which it acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Google’s interest in streaming Basketball and Hockey games, however, is a direct result of the success they experienced when they signed a contract to show cricket matches from the Indian Premier League. As part of the agreement, Google gets a slice of the ad revenue from games and the league’s website.
While YouTube provides a great way for people to upload and share videos with the world at large, Google is still struggling to make the site a place where people come and watch longer videos as opposed to short clips that leave users hopping around chaotically.
One of the key goals for YouTube this year is to offer longer clips of movies and shows under the lead of former Netflix Inc. executive Robert Kyncl, Anand said. Google also hired Claude Ruibal, former chief executive and chairman of Universal Sports, as the head of sports content partnerships for YouTube this year to boost sports content, Anand said.
I don’t know if live Basketball and Hockey games are the answer, but it’s certainly an interesting approach.