YouTube has ruled itself out of the running to bid for screening rights to the Premier League in the midst of fevered speculation in the wake of its successful live stream of the Europa League final which drew record numbers of viewers.
Instead of muscling up against the might of Sky and BT the streaming service will build on its current strategy of partnership with broadcasters and content creators for its coverage.
This strategy included a partnership with BT Sport which granted YouTube the right to screen the Europa League and Champions League finals in tandem with its own coverage.
This saw YouTube draw in an estimated audience in the high hundreds of thousands in comparison to a peak audience of 3.5m on BT TV. Such a performance would rank the match amongst the top 5 most watched live sports broadcasts in the UK.
Dismissing suggestions that this success might give YouTube pause to reconsider its business strategy Stephen Nuttall, YouTube’s senior director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We are not a buyer of rights.
“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 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.”
Football is now the single most watched sport on YouTube internationally.