YouTube in negotiations to stream live NBA, NHL games

As more streaming content providers step up their content with a wider range of offerings, Google’s YouTube must adapt. The Internet’s top source for user-generated video content simply can’t match the appeal of services like Netflix Watch Instantly, Hulu Plus and now Amazon Instant Video with their Hollywood blockbuster and popular TV series’. Instead of competing with the aforementioned providers, Google is targeting one of the last great allures of live television entertainment in this DVR-fueled age: professional sporting events.

Spurred on by the success of streaming cricket’s Indian Premiere League last year, the Internet company is now going after sports with more mainstream levels of popularity here in the United States. Google is currently in negotiations with the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, and is looking at soccer leagues in Europe, in the hopes of bringing live streaming sporting events to the online video service, Bloomberg reports. The company is said to be in talks with “most pro sports leagues,” according to director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific Gautam Anand.

The big issue that Google faces with its content is that there’s no centralized draw. Rather than dropping an advertisement in front of each and every video streamed, as some content providers do, the company is looking at other options. The Indian Premiere League deal was a big boost, bringing YouTube a share of the ad revenue for games and a total of 55 million views from more than 250 countries.

It is a well-conceived move, given YouTube’s brand identity in comparison to providers like Netflix and Hulu. Those two services are pretty much dominating the video content streaming space as far as movies and television go, and the market has only gotten more crowded now with this week’s launch of unlimited movie streaming for Amazon Prime customers.

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