No, the lead video does not come from the past Copa tournaments; I just wanted an excuse to use Jozy Altidore's awesome goal against Guadalupe. Enter YouTube's announcement about the live steaming of the 2011 Copa America soccer tournament.
Much like the World Cup, Copa America is a once-every-four-years tournament featuring a who's who of great South American soccer teams, all of which are apart of the South American Football Confederation, or CONMEBOL. The 2011 tournament will be hosted by Argentina, and, as indicated, there are number of traditional soccer powers taking part, including current Copa champions, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. All in all 12 nations will take part, although, the two "stars" of the tournament are the Argentinians and the Brazilians.
Oddly enough, Japan's national team was invited to participate -- as was Mexico -- but the recent natural disasters that rocked Japan caused the country to pull out of the tournament. Taking Japan's place will be Costa Rica, who was invited to fill Japan's vacated spot. As for YouTube's involvement, this is not the first time they've streamed live sporting events, and while YouTube's broadcast of the Indian Premier League's cricket games was successful, cricket isn't considered the most popular sport in the world, outside of the United States.
Considering soccer's popularity, especially for the way the South American's play the sport, odds are the Copa America streams will be consumed heartily by the masses. Of course, they'll have to compete with Univision's web broadcast, but what's good for television channels fighting each other for ratings is also good for the Internet.
Concerning the Copa America broadcast, YouTube provided us with some details:
On the Copa America channel at youtube.com/copaamerica, soccer fans will have access to all 26 matches including pool play, semi-finals, quarter-finals and the championship match Taking place across eight Argentine host cities this year's tournament is expected to include an all-star roster representing household-name professional teams, including Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona) Diego Milito (Argentina, Inter Milan), Robinho (Brazil, AC Milan), Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Athletico Madrid), and dozens more world class footballers. The three week competition starts on July 1, with Messi and Argentina meeting Bolivia in La Plata and concludes with the final on July 24th. Each match will also be available on-demand after the match concludes on YouTube.
From this writer's perspective, the chance to see Lionel Messi is reason enough to alone to tune in. If you're wondering why that is, wonder no more:
As indicated, YouTube's streaming of the Copa America tournament begins on July 1 and runs through the final on July 24, and all games will be available on the Copa America YouTube page. Considering the success of IPL cricket, it wouldn't be surprising if the viewership of Copa America set some kind of YouTube record.