YouTube seems to be increasingly interested in sports and has now struck a deal with the US Major League Baseball to stream full-length matches in Japan, according to an announcement from the two groups.
The matches won't be streamed live and will only be available 36 hours after they initially air.
However, all current season matches will be available as well as games from the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
The new YouTube channel, MLB.JP, will also have highlights for the matches, some of them catered to the local audience featuring Japanese players.
Highlights will also be available to fans in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Russia. These videos will be available on the main MLB YouTube channel.
All of the highlights and matches will be free, but will not be available to US residents. Full-length matches are available in the US on MLB.tv, a subscription service. The videos on YouTube will be completely ad-supported.
The deal is a big score for YouTube which has been struggling to add professional content, for which ads pay better, to the site. YouTube is said to be working on a deal with major Hollywood studios
to add current, full-length releases to the site for rental.
It has also been adding quite a few titles, TV series, older movies and the likes, to its catalog of professional content. YouTube still believes in the ad-supported model, it has to, Google was built and still heavily relies on advertising.
Earlier this year, YouTube signed a very successful deal
with the Indian Premier League to stream the cricket matches world wide. The move proved more popular than the IPL or YouTube itself expected and the matches went on to get 51 million streams in total.
It remains to be seen how successful this latest move turns out, but YouTube needs to prove that it can generate revenue for its partners and for itself. The site has never been profitable, though it is expected to turn a profit this year.