NCAA, Turner Sports start YouTube channel

NCAA, Turner Sports start YouTube channel
Connecticut players including center Amida Brimah (35) and guard Lasan Kromah (20) celebrate as Kentucky guard James Young (1) leaves the court at the end of the NCAA Tournament college basketball championship game last year in Arlington, Texas. Connecticut won 60-54. (Eric Gay / Associated Press)

The NCAA and Turner Sports are bringing March Madness to YouTube.

The basketball channel, which launched Monday, will enable fans to browse through highlights, video recaps and additional content just ahead of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. However, users will still need a pay-TV subscription to watch full games online.

In addition to highlights from past games, the channel will feature content sponsored by brands. For example, Dunk of the Day, presented by Oreo, is a daily video clip highlighting the top dunk of each day of tournament play. Starting Lineup, presented by Reese's, will update fans daily on five things they need to know about the day's action.

This isn't the first time the Google-owned video platform has become home to sports content. Earlier this year, YouTube and the National Football League created a channel just before the Super Bowl. YouTube even hosted its first ever Halftime Show.

The partnership with YouTube enables sports fans to broaden their basketball viewing experience.

"Our new partnership with YouTube gives college basketball fans more ways to discover and watch the plays and storylines that everyone will be talking about during March Madness," Mark Johnson, vice president of business operations at Turner Sports, said in a statement. "Tapping into the power and reach of YouTube's video platform opens up new opportunities for us to grow interest and consumption of March Madness."

It's also an opportunity for YouTube to expand its audience as social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube continue fighting to become the so-called second screen, where viewers use their tablets and smartphones to keep up with the event.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports will also continue to provide live coverage of the games on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – as well as on Turner Sports’ March Madness Live.  The tournament officially kicks off March 17 and goes through April 6.

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