Ooyala Brings Free, Live Coverage Of The Australian Open To The Web (For The First Time)

Tennis anyone? You have to love this. Realtime event coverage startup Livestream recently brought commercial-free, streaming coverage of New Year’s Eve in Times Square to the Web. If you caught more than a few minutes of network TV coverage of NYE, you would have been subjected to the ungodly number (and frequency) of ads. Livestream’s commercial-free coverage was a welcome respite.

This morning, Ooyala, one of the biggest web video and analytics providers, is volleying back with some live coverage of its own. The startup has partnered with Tennis Australia (the governing body of tennis within Australia) to bring free live coverage of the first major tennis tournament of the year to people around the globe.

Interested viewers can click over to Australianopen.com to watch live matches from all seven courts, along with special features, highlights, and interviews. According to the Ooyala team, Tennis Australia chose the startup because of its ability to quickly integrate its digital solutions with a capacity for potentially millions of viewers. (This follows ESPN’s recent announcement that Ooyala is now powering all video on ESPN.com. TechCrunch also uses Ooyala’s on demand services.)

Something else that’s kind of cool? This is the first time the Australian Open will be delivered online for free. However, unlike Livestream’s coverage of New Years Eve in Times Square, Ooyala’s live coverage will not be commercial-free. But, luckily, tennis fans won’t be headed for an onslaught of advertising, as Ooyala’s VP of Marketing, Allen Bush, told us that streams will have a 15-second preroll sponsored by Rolex — and are commercial-free thereafter.

Live, online viewing was available during the most recent Olympics, and it seems this is yet another example that the world’s largest sporting events are following suit. Hopefully, this will continue. Ooyala and others are proving to big media that this kind of action is good for business — and, more importantly, fans.

Now if they just orchestrate a Federer vs Nadal final …

Watch the action here.