YouTube will not make a bid anytime soon for rights to show Premier League games, despite BT’s success broadcasting the Europa final for free on the site, according to The Guardian.
The combined audience figures on BT’s Freeview channel, website, and YouTube channel reached a peak audience of 3.6 million viewers. Youtube’s share of that audience is estimated to be in the high hundreds of thousands.
Stephen Nuttall, YouTube’s senior director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that live content on Youtube “works brilliantly as a complement to [TV coverage] for a broadcaster running a very good YouTube channel.”
But he ruled out the YouTube actively bidding for Premiership rights, telling The Guardian that the site preferred to act as a partner to broadcasters:
We are not a buyer of rights. We are very good at distributing content to the largest possible audience. It’s pretty clear. We are a technology company, we do a great job of creating tools that broadcasters, [sports] leagues and clubs can use to tell their stories to largest possible engaged audience.
That is what I expect we will continue to focus on. Our whole model is about partnering with people to allow them to make the greatest possible success out of their content.
We work with, and focus on, distributing [broadcasters’] content. Sometimes live, sometimes clips and highlights in the sports world. Sometimes digital natives. We don’t create the content ourselves.”
Nuttall added that YouTube currently has partnership deals for 37 league and cup competitions. Like the Europa final, BT will be showing the Champions League final on Sunday May 28.
Sky Sports and BT paid a record combined £5.14 billion ($7.53 billion) in 2015 for Premier League broadcasting rights for three years starting from the 2016/17 season. Sky will show 126 matches per season while BT has rights to 42 games.
On top of that, the Premiership continues to be the most watched club league in the world, with three-year foreign broadcasting rights sold for £3.2 billion ($4.7 billion).
YouTube was not immediately available for comment.