YouTube continues to become an alternate source of sports programming for fans and its latest effort is in partnership with Gillette to create the Gillette Football Club, a channel that will focus exclusively on soccer and its fans.
The sports channel will deliver on demand high definition video to soccer fans and is designed to enable fans to register to follow their favorite teams and provides goal and highlights for the teams as well as other league highlights including stats from a player, team or league.
It allows you to follow the English Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A (both Brazil and Italy), Eredivise, SPL, MLS, La Liga, Ligat Ha’Al, Ekstraklasa and Bundesliga players and teams and will also show select highlights from international matches.
However it provides much more including videos of interviews with top players and team personnel as well as other features including football shows. Several high profile teams are creating content for the channel including one called Copa90 Allstars where skills and ball handling tricks will be demonstrated by top footballers.
While the programming is free, all you need to do is register, the site will be filled with advertisements from Gillette, but that really seems a small price to pay.
YouTube has been increasingly pushing into sports as an alternative to broadcast sports and had a wide variety of the 2012 Summer Olympics events available in much of the world as part of its partnership with NBC and has invested approximately $200 million in marketing its growing number of channels.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this has on broadcasters such as Fox Sports and ESPN, both of whom have been increasingly focusing on the growing interest in the US as well as trying to leverage the already great demand for the sport worldwide. It seems to me that the Gillette Football Club, with VOD, is a much better avenue for fans to get updates than to rush to their TV when a network has a scheduled program that does essentially the same thing.
Will we see an ESPN or Fox team with YouTube in the future or will they seek to launch their own rival highlights program online. Whatever happens it seems to me that fans will benefit from increased competition and the resulting growth in exposure the sport receives.