In addition, YouTube TV — Google’s internet pay-TV service — is adding MLB Network to its channel lineup starting Thursday. Down the road, YouTube TV members also will have the option to subscribe to the league’s out-of-market live-streaming service, MLB.tv.
Last year, YouTube TV served as the first-ever presenting sponsor of the 2017 World Series with national spots and on-air callouts on Fox during each game. Fox has the broadcast rights for the World Series through 2021.
As part of the renewed partnership, YouTube TV will partner with MLB on a new season-long “First Pitch” sponsorship. That will feature YouTube TV branding during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv, with additional promos on MLB.com and MLB’s social channels.
YouTube TV plans to again incorporate MLB players as part of its marketing efforts, slated to include national TV ads, branding across MLB’s digital properties, and in-stadium promotion. During the 2017 World Series, YouTube created television ads that incorporated live footage as well as six-second spots with MLB stars on YouTube and TV.
“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’s executive VP of commerce. He cited in particular YouTube’s “engagement with our young fans” — a key piece of the league’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of baseball fans.
For YouTube TV, the World Series pact has been its highest-profile marketing initiative to date. YouTube TV launched in April 2017, initially in just five markets, and has since expanded to become available in the top 100 U.S. markets, covering over 85% of U.S. households.
YouTube TV initially cost $35 per month, but as of March 13 the monthly subscription price will go up to $40 for new customers. The over-the-top TV service offers more than 50 channels, including the recently added suite of networks from Turner, including TBS — which, notably, has postseason MLB broadcast rights.
According to YouTube, MLB content on the video service generated more than 1 billion views in 2017.
Pictured above: Game 5 of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.