YouTube membership first for Russian Premier League overseas broadcasts

YouTube membership first for Russian Premier League overseas broadcasts
Russia’s top-flight soccer league has launched a paid-for membership offering on the social video platform YouTube, which allows subscribers in international territories to live stream all of the remaining matches from the ongoing 2019/20 season.

The expanded agreement with Google sees the Russian Premier League (RPL) become the first national soccer competition to distribute live games via a YouTube membership, with the content offering also incorporating a weekly highlights show.

Having broadcast all of its live matches for free via the RPL YouTube page last season, the new deal forms part of the RPL’s strategic planning ahead of the launch of its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform for international audiences. The YouTube offer will act as a marketing tool to better understand the league’s global appeal and effective price points having set two tiers for membership.

The first tier includes two matches with English commentary each matchday and will cost a monthly fee of US$2.99. The second tier offer, for US$4.99 a month, gives subscribers access to all eight matches in Russian and two matches with English commentary as well.

Until the end of the season, all matches will have full commentary in Russian, while two key fixtures will also have commentary in English each matchday. FC Rostov vs CSKA Moscow and Spartak Moscow vs FC Krasnodar have been selected for English commentary next weekend.

Pavel Suvorov, the RPL’s commercial director, said: “Our partnership with Google is an up-and-coming project. We are looking into the promising prospect of launching our own OTT service or implementing it on the partner side for an international audience.

“Regarding this matter agreement with Google is an important step in implementing our plans, researching audience preferences, its sensitivity to the price and extent of conversion.”

English soccer giants Liverpool became the first sports team globally to offer a paid membership on YouTube in December. The club set a price point of UK£0.99 (US$1.3) per month for members to access exclusive content.

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