YouTube will be broadcasting all Major League Baseball games on its site in Japan next year, in what the company is calling “the largest partnership for premium sports content” in its history.
It’s the company’s latest major sports deal. Earlier this year, it said it would stream all 60 matches of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament in markets outside the U.S. and this summer it announced a multi-year deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to bring full-episodes of WWE shows to its site.
The Major League Baseball games in Japan will go live 36 hours after they air. YouTube is also putting up “multiple highlight reels” from every game from 2009 and 2010 — and even putting up clips showing top plays made daily by Japanese-born Major League Baseball players.
Considering the huge popularity of Major League Baseball in the country, the content should attract a big audience. YouTube already ranks as the top video site in the country, according to comScore figures.
– More premium content: In other YouTube premium content-related news, the Financial Times reported over the week-end that the site was in talks with major studios to “launch a global pay-per-view video service,” which would let visitors pay to stream single movies. YouTube has been talking to the major studios about such an arrangement since at least last September, although the FT says they’ve speeded up in part due to competitive pushes from companies like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Hulu and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL).