Updated: Turns out, March Madness isn’t the only major sporting event starting this weekend: Cricket fans all over the world have been feverishly awaiting today’s start of the Indian Premiere League Cricket Season. In fact, the first game is already underway while I’m writing this story, with the Deccan Chargers facing off against the Kolkata Knight Riders, and the audience is going crazy on Twitter, posting tweets faster than a Cricket fan’s heartbeat.
So where do you turn to watch the Indian Premiere League Cricket Season? Not ESPN or Fox Sports. U.S. broadcasters tend to ignore the event, but cricket fans can turn to YouTube instead, where the complete season — with all of its 60 matches will be broadcast in real time almost all over the world. Missed a match? No worries, the IPL’s YouTube channel will also offer past games on demand.
The Indian Premiere League has only been around for three seasons, but it’s already been called “the world’s hottest sports league” by Forbes. The 2008 semifinals and final were watched by 62 million TV viewers in India, which comes to about 11 percent of the country’s cable audience. YouTube signed a deal with the league in January, which marks the first time the site was able to secure the online rights for a sports event of this scale.
YouTube will broadcast the Indian Premiere League games worldwide in real time, with one big exception: the U.S., where viewers won’t get to see the games 15 minutes after they’ve ended. That may be a concession to conflicting pay-TV rights, but it should actually help many of us to follow the league. Today’s game between the Deccan Chargers and the Kolkata Knight Riders started at 8 p.m. local time in Mumbai, which is 6.30 a.m. PST, and some games will get underway even earlier. Cricket fans can find the complete schedule for the season here.
Update: Subscription-based online sports site Willow.tv will stream the games in real time in the U.S., but cricket fans have to pay $60 to gain access to the live streams.
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