The IPL's 2010 season will be broadcast live on YouTube, following an arrangement between the league and Google, owners of the internet channel. The deal - under which all 60 games will be shown live or on a short delay on a dedicated YouTube channel - will apply across the world, except in the USA, which will have re-broadcast options.
The agreement gives Google exclusive online rights for IPL content for two years, with both parties sharing revenues from sponsorships and advertising. The press release does not specify whether the service will be on a subscription basis - content on YouTube is largely free to watch - but Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, indicated in a media interview that it would be free.
The most significant aspect of the deal is the amount of control it gives the viewers, who will be able to customise their viewing experience by choosing between different camera angles. Additionally they will be able to freeze, fast-forward and rewind the feed, as well as watch replays at any time during the day, a choice that is unavailable to television viewers who are bound by broadcast schedules.
The move is expected to give the IPL access to global markets, especially those where it does not have arrangements for live telecast. That includes the UK, where the rights were originally sold to the now-defunct Setanta and have not been re-sold - and where the internet will now be the sole medium for fans to watch the IPL.
This will be the first such deal in the cricket world, though in 2008 the International Olympic Committee had hosted highlights of the Beijing Games in countries that didn't receive any telecast.
"This changes the world of sports broadcasting. The internet has changed the lives of everyone and this will do the same for sport," Modi told the Daily Telegraph. "We are now taking our event truly global for the first time. Google gives us access to 500 million pairs of eyes every single moment of the day. There are a few countries where the feed will be near as live which means there will be a delay of only a few minutes, but most places will be able to see live streaming of the action.
"We do not have a live feed in the UK. People in the UK keep asking me why they can't see it. Now if they have a broadband connection they can get it for free. It is about broadening the fan base, after that everything follows," Modi said.
"We are thrilled to have the IPL as our global partner," said Shailesh Rao, a senior manager of Google India. "YouTube offers an open platform for sports and entertainment companies to take their content to a global audience and a great opportunity for advertisers."