YouTube, MLB renew streaming deal for 15 games

YouTube renewed a streaming deal with Major League Baseball that includes 15 games during the 2022 regular season.

It’s the fourth season of the live streaming deal, bringing back MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube, which allows the games to be viewed by fans for free in 182 countries. The first game kicks off Thursday May 5, when the Washington Nationals face off against the Colorado Rockies.

Viewers can watch anywhere YouTube is available, including through the app on smart TVs through the MLB’s YouTube Channel. YouTube TV subscribers have a dedicated channel via the app.

“YouTube became Major League Baseball’s official partner to stream live games four years ago and it’s been incredible to continue to grow the game in compelling and innovative ways on our platform,” said Jon Cruz, head of Sports Partnerships at YouTube, in a statement. “One of the biggest commonalities within our partnership is maintaining a ‘fan-first’ perspective, so we’re proud to continue to keep our games free and accessible to fans in over 182 countries around the word while delivering the best of baseball in ways only YouTube can do.”

YouTube and MLB started their live games partnership in 2019, and the league said that since then its content on YouTube has generated 5.4 billion views and 425 million watch hours, with half of the audience under 35-years-old.

Erin Teague, director and global head of Sports, Movies and Shows Product Management, said in a statement that YouTube remains “committed to building on our unique in-game features to engage MLB fans of all ages across the globe..”

Some YouTube-only features of this year’s broadcast season include a live chat that features game commentary from MLB superfan YouTube creators. There will also be in-game polls for viewer engagement. Subscribers to YouTube TV get added features like the ability to re-watch key plays and view real-time game stats.

“YouTube’s creative approach to fan engagement lets viewers feel like they are a part of the broadcast, and we look forward to another season of bringing fans closer to the game through their unique presentation,” said Dominick Balsamo, SVP of Global Media and Business Development.

YouTube TV started offering MLB.TV as an add-on for its live TV lineup in February 2021, delivering streaming access to all regular season out-of-market games.

The MLB has announced other streaming deals in recent months, including Comcast NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which will be the exclusive home of 18 games airing weekly in a new MLB Sunday morning slot as part of a multi-year deal. AppleTV in March reached an agreement to stream “Friday Night Baseball” a weekly doubleheader of live MLB games. The first Friday night game debuted on AppleTV last week when the New York Mets bested the Washington Nationals in a 7-3 win.