YouTube and Major League Baseball today announced the expansion of their groundbreaking, multi-faceted partnership to drive fan excitement for the sport and to showcase more ways for baseball fans to watch the national pastime with the cable-free, live TV service, YouTube TV.
As part of the renewed partnership, YouTube TV will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 World Series. For the first time, YouTube TV will also partner with MLB on a brand new season-long sponsorship – “First Pitch” – that will bring to life the YouTube TV brand during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv, and will be amplified on MLB.com and MLB social channels. YouTube TV plans to once again incorporate MLB players in its promotional efforts throughout the multi-year deal, which will also include a variety of national TV spots and on-air call-outs during the games, branding across MLB’s digital properties and official social media accounts, and in-stadium promotion.
The extended partnership also offers expanded baseball coverage to all YouTube TV members with the addition of the award-winning MLB Network to its channel lineup starting today. In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv, the longest running sports streaming service in the U.S., for an additional fee.
“YouTube brought tremendous creativity, marketing energy and innovation to the most exciting part of our year, the Postseason and World Series,” said Noah Garden, MLB Executive Vice President, Commerce. “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.”
Launched in conjunction with the beginning of the 2017 Postseason, MLB and YouTube TV began a groundbreaking partnership to increase attention and awareness around the live TV streaming service, the lead-up to the World Series and the Fall Classic itself. This included the first-ever presenting sponsorship of the World Series, innovative television ads that incorporated live footage, six-second spots with current MLB stars on YouTube and TV, exclusive baseball content from YouTube’s highly popular creators, and player support across social media. The integrated marketing campaign’s success throughout October led YouTube and MLB to extend and broaden the World Series partnership for an additional two years.
“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,” said Angela Courtin, Global Head of YouTube TV & Originals Marketing. “MLB has been a great long-term partner and we are excited to renew our World Series partnership as well as play a role in games throughout the season with the inaugural First Pitch sponsorship, bringing more ways for fans to enjoy their favorite teams cable-free with YouTube TV.”
YouTube TV launched in April 2017 to provide audiences around the country a new, more flexible way to enjoy their favorite live TV and live sports programming outside of a traditional cable subscription. The service is expanding to the top 100 markets, covering over 85% of U.S. households.
MLB has been an innovator in the digital sports arena, investing in engaging fans on YouTube for years, as well as through a broad range of digital platforms and products. The continued YouTube TV partnership builds upon the league’s 10+ year strategy to reach fans wherever they are. In 2017 alone, for example, MLB’s engagement and content strategy on YouTube generated over 1 billion views.