YouTube unveils Football channel

YouTube is partnering with online video distributor Rightster to launch a football highlights channel, as the search giant steps up efforts to position its video platform as an entertainment destination to rival TV.

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The Love Football channel shows highlights from several leagues including Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1 as well as the FA Cup and Capital One Cup from England.

It is free to watch and viewers can subscribe to receive additional content from each league, such as player and manager interviews, documentaries and behind-the-scenes footage.

There are some rights restrictions for access in certain countries. For instance, the French Ligue 1 videos are not available to viewers in France and Spain, while the English FA Cup is only available in England, Asia and selected European countries, including Germany, Turkey and Belgium.

The broadcast deals for each of the tournaments have been brokered through a partnership with Rightster and sports media rights agency MP & Silva.

Stephen Nuttall, senior director of sports at YouTube EMEA, says the channel brings into focus Google’s ambition to establish YouTube as a destination for football fans. Earlier this month, it signed a deal with the Scottish Premier League to show match highlights and exclusive content to fans in the UK and around the word for the next three seasons.

The Love Football channel is part of a wider strategy to turn YouTube into an entertainment destination and give advertisers a stronger reason to invest in web over TV.

Rival search business Yahoo! is also looking to football to bolster its online ad revenues. The business is currently running a major campaign to promote its sports coverage, which includes exclusive rights to online UK Premier League highlights.

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