YouTube to stream Champions League final
After successfully broadcasting the Europa League final between Sevilla and Liverpool on Wednesday, YouTube will also be streaming the Champions League final live next Saturday, May 28.
The Google-owned company, who struck a deal with BT Sport to screen both finals, drew a record peak audience of 3.5 million viewers but has said that it has no plans to challenge for Premier League rights.
Stephen Nuttall, YouTube’s senior director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “It is amazing that BT has chosen to put the Europa and Champions League finals on YouTube to reach the widest possible audience.
“Live content works brilliantly as a complement to TV coverage for a broadcaster running a very good YouTube channel.
“Some partners think how much ad revenue can I make on it? Some think about what reach they can get to grow and build a domestic or global audience.”
The Europa League final is believed to be in YouTube’s top five most-watched live sports broadcasts in the UK.
With the Champions League final set to be aired on May 28, rumors had started to circulate that the company would take on Sky and BT in the next Premier League rights auction, but Nuttall dismissed the idea.
“We are not a buyer of rights,” he said. “We are very good at distributing content to the largest possible audience.
“It’s pretty clear. We are a technology company, we do a great job of creating tools that broadcasters, sports leagues and clubs can use to tell their stories to the largest possible engaged audience.
“That is what I expect we will continue to focus on. Our whole model is about partnering with people to allow them to make the greatest possible success out of their content.
“Overall, whether you are BT or UEFA or you are the BBC you look at YouTube and decide that it looks like an interesting place to distribute content.
“We work with, and focus on, distributing their content. Sometimes live, sometimes clips and highlights in the sports world. Sometimes digital natives. We donít create the content ourselves.”
YouTube has steadily been growing its portfolio of live sports offerings.
The media giant recently agreed a free-to-air broadcast deal with Spain’s Professional Football League (LFP) to air games from the LFP World Challenge, the country’s top-tier football pre-season tour.
YouTube will also offer highlights packages and behind the scenes content from the tour.
The company has also partnered with the NFL to offer fans some of the game’s most iconic matches for free.
Cricket continues to be part of YouTube’s strategy to develop its live sports offering, as shown by their recent airing of the inaugural Pakistan Super League competition.