Major League Baseball has marked the start of its playoffs tonight by partnering with YouTube to promote its paid online streaming service, YouTube TV, during the 2017 World Series later this month.
The Google-owned service said on Tuesday it had signed on as a presenting sponsor for the 2017 World Series, which means that Fox, the network airing the Fall Classic, will run several national TV commercials for YouTube TV during those late-October games. (The World Series is scheduled to begin Oct. 24, after the current group of 10 playoff teams is whittled to two.) YouTube will also run ads across the MLB’s websites, social media accounts, and in stadiums, while some professional ballplayers on playoff teams will even appear in promotions for YouTube TV, the live-TV streaming service that launched in April.
“We are proud to team with You Tube on its first major partnership to help raise national awareness for YouTube TV,” Noah Garden, the MLB’s executive vice president for business, said in a statement.
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YouTube and the MLB did not disclose any financial details, but the partnership makes sense for YouTube TV, as the company looks to attract more users to its live-TV streaming service by highlighting its ability to offer live events, such as live sports. While YouTube’s free video service pulls in roughly 1.5 billion monthly users, YouTube TV has been slowly rolling out to a larger audience in recent months, and it is now available in 49 of the country’s top 50 markets, or two-thirds of all U.S. TV viewers, according to YouTube. (Fox is one of the broadcast networks available on YouTube TV, so subscribers will be able to live-stream Fox’s live coverage of the World Series and other MLB playoff games.)
YouTube TV, which costs $35 per month, is also competing against several other similar live-TV streaming services offering lower costs and fewer channels than a traditional cable subscription, including Hulu Live, Dish Network’s Sling TV, and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.
The partnership announced on Tuesday will also see MLB players teaming with YouTube’s community of “creators” to create original, World Series-themed videos. For the MLB, partnering with YouTube provides a way for the league to reach younger, digital viewers while showcasing the sport’s most high-profile event. Last year’s World Series, between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, drew more than 40 million viewers for the final game, more than any baseball game in 25 years.