Free IPL cricket on YouTube from today

From 2PM today (8pm IST), the first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be streamed live on YouTube.

Showing the Deccan Chargers against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Google claims that it will be the start of one of the most widely-distributed sporting events in history. 

The entire season will be streamed around the world on YouTube, apart from the US, where viewers will be able to see coverage 15 minutes after the match ends. There will also be on-demand access of the 60 match, 43-day tournament.

It will give UK viewers, starved of live cricket of any kind thanks to the big bucks of Sky, the opportunity to watch superstar players like Kevin Pietersen and Sachin Tendulkar. 

The IPL revenue and talent wise could be compared to leagues such as the English Premiership, with the 20-over format perfectly suiting casual as well as more expert watchers of the game.

It could be of particular annoyance for Rupert Murdoch, who owns Sky and potentially see the value of its cricket broadcasts dented by the fact you can watch arguably higher quality cricket on the internet for free.

He is already particularly sore at Google for affecting the newspaper business and taking revenue away from his titles like the Times and the Sun. It was believed that he was thinking of putting up an internet pay wall in his desperation.

It also sees Google moving its far-reaching tentacles into the live-sports arena, and also provides a boost to YouTube, which is currently a loss-making property. The IPL deal could give a welcome boost to YouTube when it comes to advertising.