Major League Baseball (MLB) has entered into a multi-faceted partnership with Google’s nascent YouTube TV service, which becomes the first-ever presenting sponsor for the league’s season-ending World Series.
YouTube TV, an over-the-top (OTT) live streaming offering which launched in several US markets earlier this year, will have advertisements and on-air call-outs throughout World Series coverage provided by MLB broadcast partner Fox, whose channels are also available via YouTube TV.
Additionally, the service will be promoted across MLB’s digital and social platforms, as well as in ballparks during games. The two parties will also collaborate to create original, World Series-themed content featuring MLB players and popular YouTubers, and run competitions offering fans the chance to win behind-the-scenes experiences.
YouTube TV, which launched in April at US$35 a month, is specifically aimed at cord-cutters and 'cord-nevers', and is currently available in 49 TV markets across the US. More markets are set to be added in the coming months.
"We built a cable-free service that makes it easier than ever for fans to get access to their favourite live TV programming, including amazing live sporting events like the World Series on Fox," said Kelly Merryman, YouTube's managing director of content partnerships.
"When we were thinking about partnerships to showcase the power of YouTube TV, Major League Baseball and the World Series was the perfect fit. It's a great next step in our long-term relationship with the league.”
It is hoped the new partnership, which represents YouTube's first major promotional push for its new service, will drive digital consumption of World Series coverage whilst also helping to raise awareness of YouTube TV, which is available on all devices, including mobiles, tablets, computers and smart TVs.
YouTube TV is one of several virtual MPVDs looking to lure consumers into buying so-called 'skinny bundles' - lower-cost programming packages delivered over the internet without the need for a cable subscription. As well as Fox's channels, it currently offers access to ESPN and NBC Sports-branded regional sports networks.
"We are proud to team with YouTube on its first major partnership to help raise national awareness for YouTube TV," said Noah Garden, MLB's executive vice president of business.
"YouTube TV is an exciting new offering for fans providing them with increased flexibility to enjoy Fox's broadcast of the Fall Classic on any device."
Whle financial terms have not been disclosed, the new deal continues MLB's strategy of signing presenting sponsors for its post-season play. The league recently signed deals with Camping World, which now sponsors the championship series in both the National and American leagues; Doosan Corporation, which is backing the American League Division Series (ALDS); and T-Mobile US, which supports the National League Division Series (NLDS).