YouTube To Live Stream Wimbledon Matches For The First Time

YouTube has been getting deeper into live-streaming sports lately and today, Google’s online video site announced that it will live-stream the Wimbledon tennis tournament, too. The company says YouTube will stream “the key moments of the tennis, interviews, behind the scenes and press conferences” throughout the two-week tournament. The coverage, which will be sponsored by Rolex, will be available on the Wimbledon YouTube channel, starting Monday, June 24.

The Wimbledon channel debuted in 2006, and this year marks the tournament’s first foray into live-streaming the matches.

The coverage will be available “anywhere YouTube Live is available.” There are some geographic restrictions, though. The live video and full broadcast will be restricted to the U.S., Canada, South America (except Brazil), the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus and New Zealand. Highlights will be available globally except for the U.K., the U.S., South America, Germany, Austria and Italy. All other content will be available on a global basis.

As Google tells me, tennis is about as popular as baseball on YouTube according to searches, but both are still well behind soccer. Currently some of the most popular sports channels on YouTube that stream live video include the UFC’s and WWE’s channels, but YouTube has also recently streamed major soccer tournaments, cricket matches and similar sporting events with a worldwide audience.

Given that YouTube offers live streaming in its mobile apps, as well as through Google TV and its web-based “leanback” experience, this actually puts YouTube in direct competition with the traditional TV broadcasters that generally had a lock on major sporting events coverage.