OTT & Digital

MLB extends and expands YouTube TV partnership

Streaming service adds MLB Network to consumer offering.

by Elena Holmes

MLB extends and expands YouTube TV partnership

Major League Baseball (MLB) has extended and expanded its wide-ranging partnership with YouTube TV.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Google-owned streaming service will continue to serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 editions of the season-ending World Series.

MLB will continue to promote YouTube TV during the best-of-seven game series, with the service’s branding to be featured across MLB’s digital and social platforms and in stadiums, while YouTube TV will use MLB stars in its own advertising through a variety of national TV spots.

In addition, the service will see its brand promoted during the first pitches of games on MLB’s sports channel, MLB Network, as well as the league’s streaming service MLB.tv, and amplified across its digital platforms and social media channels.

The new deal will also see YouTube TV expand its baseball offering through the addition of MLB Network, while its members will also be able to watch MLB.tv for an additional fee.

YouTube TV first agreed a deal with MLB in October 2017, which marked its first major advertising partnership and saw the platform serve as MLB’s first-ever presenting sponsor of its World Series events. The deal aimed to drive digital consumption of World Series coverage whilst also raising awareness of YouTube TV. MLB said its engagement and content strategy on YouTube generated over one billion views in 2017 alone.

YouTube TV launched in April 2017, and recently announced a deal with MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC, which gives the service exclusive Los Angeles-area TV rights to 18 games. It also agreed a partnership in February with MLS champions the Seattle Sounders, in a deal which gives the service exclusive streaming rights to the club’s 21 regionally televised contests.

“YouTube brought tremendous creativity, marketing energy and innovation to the most exciting part of our year, the postseason and World Series,” said Noah Garden, executive vice president of commerce at MLB.

“Their engagement with our young fans, rising stars and clubs showed that YouTube TV is a natural partner for our sport and we're proud to build on this groundbreaking relationship. And with the addition of MLB Network and the upcoming launch of MLB.tv on the platform, our fans' options to consume baseball continue to grow.”

Angela Courtin, global head of YouTube TV and originals marketing, added: “Our historic partnership with MLB was a first of its kind. From live programming morphing into a YouTube TV spot, to prominent in-stadium placements, our innovative partnership allowed us to build awareness for YouTube TV and have a voice during one of the biggest live sporting events of the year.”