Thursday, November 15, 2012

NLL to Stream Games on YouTube

For their upcoming season the National Lacrosse League (NLL) is going to move their live streaming of the games online from their website to YouTube in a deal that was announced earlier this week.  This deal will not affect the TV that the NLL has with CBS.  Eight to ten games will still be broadcasted on CBS but the rest of the season will be streamed live on YouTube.  The NNL games will be part of the Lacrosse Network which will also include indoor and outdoor college lacrosse games.  The idea behind this agreement is to use YouTube’s global presence and make the NNL known worldwide.
This is the first time that a professional sports league’s games will be broadcasted on YouTube live.  This idea has a lot of potential if it is marketed the right way.  The NNL must make it known to fans on their website about the change and also have it announced a couple times during the games on CBS.  If they are not able to spread the word quickly that could affect the potential viewing audience.  

One thing that I am personally curious about with this deal is what kind of sponsorships YouTube will be able to attract.  The Lacrosse Network will be handling the sponsorships instead of the NNL.  The price of the sponsorship is going to be much less for this than it would be for a game on TV.  This could either hurt the network or help it.  Since the price is lower it might attract some bigger sponsorships because they will not have to pay as much and the audience viewing potential could be very high.  The opposite could occur if the bigger sponsors do not know what to expect with this new idea they might not want to get involved.

Hopefully the NNL’s deal with YouTube works out well.  The potential is great and if it is successful could open the door for other leagues to try it out.  This could be a good idea for sports that struggle to get viewership.  It could also be used for a league to try to develop a more global viewing audience. 

Here is a link to the Sports Business Now story.

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