Google searches for World Cup matches will now turn up ESPN highlights

ESPN-Google WC Post-Match Mock FINAL 6-13-14

Google and ESPN have teamed up to offer video highlights of World Cup matches, even while they are still in progress. Any general search query in the US for a match in progress will bring up a screen like the one above, where you’ll be able to view highlights and detailed statistics on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Here is what it will look like on a smartphone.

ESPN-Google WC Post-Match Mock FINAL 6-11-14

It’s the first time fresh in-game video highlights have been integrated for sports on Google Search, according to the companies. It could be a particularly useful function for people whom, for whatever reason, don’t the capacity to watch a game in full but are trying to keep up with the action on Twitter or via a live blog. Those don’t have access to cable—or who haven’t figured out the Univision strategy—might also be interested.

If you do have access to ESPN through a pay TV subscription, you will also be able to click through to watch it online. Here’s what that will look like.

ESPN-Google WC WatchESPN Live Card FINAL 6-11-14

Because videos won’t actually play within the Google Search results page, but rather link back to and WatchESPN, it could be a significant traffic driver for the Disney-controlled sports behemoth. From Google’s point of view, it may also help the company regain its position as a destination for real-time news and information, which it has arguably ceded to Twitter (which is making its own big World Cup push) and, to a lesser extent, Facebook.

ESPN wouldn’t say whether any money changed hands for this deal.

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