The popular U.S. sport will see its games aired on YouTube TV and Facebook throughout the 2018 season.
NORTH AMERICA–Major League Baseball is growing its digital presence with a new deal with Facebook and an expanded partnership with YouTube.
Through an extended agreement, YouTube TV will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 MLB World Series. In addition, the two companies will partner for “First Pitch,” a season-long slate of sponsored content that will air during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv. Additionally, YouTube TV will incorporate MLB players in its promotional efforts, produce a number of national TV spots and on-air call outs during games as well as branded content across social media. The partnership also offers expanded baseball coverage to all YouTube TV members with the addition of the MLB Network to the platform’s channel lineup. In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv 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," says Noah Garden, executive vice president, commerce, 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."
MLB and YouTube first partnered at the start of the 2017 Postseason to increase awareness of the streaming service.
"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," says Angela Courtin, global head, YouTube TV and Originals marketing, YouTube. "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."
In a separate deal, tech giant Facebook has secured the exclusive streaming rights to 25 MLB games during the 2018 season. The deal is the first time a major U.S. sports league has granted exclusive rights to the social network and the greatest amount of rights from a major league sport to go exclusively to a streaming video platform.
Last season, MLB and Facebook partnered to live-stream 20 non-exclusive Friday night games.