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YouTube bids to become home of live online sport

YouTube is in talks with the NBA, NHL and European football leagues in a bid to become the home of live online sport.

In January last year the platform confirmed an exclusive contract to show Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches, its first live major sports rights deal.

Brian Suh, Google's head of YouTube partnerships at its Korean division has said the firm is in talks with "most pro sports leagues" – including European football leagues – in an effort to secure live broadcasting rights.

YouTube views live sports broadcasting as a way of increasing its value to advertisers by keeping viewers on its site for longer periods of time.

IPL broadcasts brought in over 55m visits from 250 countries to YouTube, who split revenue from sponsorship and advertising in a two-year deal.

Gautam Anand, Google director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific said: "It's fair to say that there will be a lot more appealing sports content you'll see on YouTube. We have conversations with pretty much everyone. The IPL proved to a lot of sports leagues that [the] broad-scale livestreaming type of exercise is something that's possible".

Both the NBA and NHL declined to comment on the talks. ESPN currently owns the rights to broadcast NBA highlights online.