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MLB extends landmark YouTube TV partnership

Major League Baseball has extended and expanded its wide-ranging partnership with YouTube TV, the cable-free live television service of video-sharing company YouTube.

The initial deal signed in October represented YouTube’s first major advertising deal for YouTube TV and saw MLB sign its first-ever presenting sponsor of the World Series.

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 promote 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 MLB Network to its channel lineup. In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv, the longest running sports streaming service in the US, 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,” Noah Garden, MLB executive vice-president of commerce, said. 

“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 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 creators, and player support across social media. The two parties said the integrated marketing campaign's success throughout October led them to extend and broaden the World Series partnership for an additional two years.

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.”

MLB said its engagement and content strategy on YouTube generated over one billion views in 2017 alone.