As more OTT TV platforms emerge on the market, the fight for content becomes crucial. Recently, YouTube has placed extra effort in building its reputation as a destination for sports. Today, as part of that strategy, the Google-owned company has renewed its marketing pact with Major League Baseball (MLB) to become the organization’s presenting sponsor of the World Series for 2018 and 2019.
As part of the deal, the linear streaming service will partner with the league on a new season-long “First Pitch” sponsorship, which 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.
Since the beginning of the year, YouTube has made several strong pushes into sports content. In January, the service secured exclusive rights to Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) games, which will be exclusive to their own channel on the platform. And just last month, the company inked an exclusive streaming deal with another major league soccer team, the Seattle Sounders FC. The deal includes exclusive streaming rights to the club’s 20 regionally televised contests on a dedicated Sounders FC YouTube TV channel. In addition to the two MLS deals, the service added a slew of channels form Turner last month. Included in the slate is NBA TV and MLB Network. Under the deal, YouTube TV subscribers will have access to March Madness NCAA basketball games, nationally televised NBA games. But as a result of the added content, the online TV service plans to increase its subscription cost from $35/mo to $40/mo starting March 13.
YouTube hopes by placing extra effort on sports, they will be able to attract younger sports fans, who generally don’t tune into broadcast television at the same rate as older generations. As Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV, explained in a recent interview: “Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service.”