Chelsea Football Club have become the first club to open a Youtube Video Channel, allowing fans to congregate online, watch clips of commentary on the club's fortunes and post their views on the season's progress.
Chelsea are reaching out to a new, fast growing medium on the Internet, although they are not allowed to show Live footage due to contractual rights.
Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: "We are delighted to work with YouTube. Chelsea is the first football club to move into what is clearly one of the fastest growing new media platforms."
Youtube which was acquired by Google for $1.65 Billion (USD) is reaching out to sports fans all over the world, and Chelsea will be one of the front runners, hoping to grab a small share of the 100 million video downloads every day from the youtube site. With Google experimenting with Video advertising, the Chelsea channel could be a lucrative business for the club.
The possibilities of the increased advertising revenues from the internet are surely very tantalizing for Football Clubs and Chelsea will no doubt be watching closely to see how many pairs of Chelsea "eyeballs" view their Page.
The Social Networking phenomenon (Myspace, Yahoo 360, Bebo, Flickr, Friendster, Youtube etc) has taken the web by storm and how Chelsea interact and communicate with their fans through youtube is yet to be realized. Along with http://www.youtube.com/chelseafc I expect we will be seeing http://www.youtube.com/chelseafc/china and http://www.youtube.com/chelseafc/india (in their local languages) in an attempt to galvanize a larger fan base.
Traditionally, Football Clubs were supported by the local community, in the immediate vicinity of their stadiums and the surrounding town or city. Their reach was limited geographically by this area, however this no longer applies. The reach and success of clubs, especially the larger clubs is linked to their appeal as a Global Brand, the team messages zooming down Fiber Optic networks to the far flung corners of the planet.
With Liverpool FC having 28,000,000 registered online members worldwide, Chelsea seem keen to innovate on the web to cement them as a Global Brand and reach Fans all over the world.