SBJ/January 9-15, 2012/Media

Qatar’s ATP event gets exposure through YouTube

Google’s YouTube streamed live the men’s ATP tennis tournament in Doha, Qatar, last week, an event that featured Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

YouTube has been making a push into live sports, featuring sports and events like Indian Premier League cricket, professional bull riding and badminton. The ATP event is believed to be the first tennis event shown on YouTube, though, and more events could be coming.

More ATP 250 tournaments could follow the Qatar event to YouTube.
The ATP does not control the international distribution of its lowest level of tourneys, the 250s, as they are called. While the Doha event, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, is a 250, it pays hefty guarantees to attract top stars.

The top men’s and women’s tennis events worldwide pool their global rights through the respective tours, so it’s unlikely YouTube could gain access to these events, but the lower-level ones could be ripe. There are 40 of the ATP 250s spread across the globe.

ATP Media said the Doha event cut its deal with YouTube on its own and not through the ATP. As a result, the ATP made the tournament coverage free on its own website. All other tournaments available on the ATP website require payment for viewing.

For YouTube, it’s one more step in a push to become a player in showing live sports.

“We’re always talking with leagues and sporting events around the world, and we’re hoping to bring more tennis and many other sports to YouTube over the coming years,” said Claude Ruibal, YouTube’s global head of sports content.

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