Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Google’s YouTube to stream live major league baseball games

Google’s YouTube to stream live major league baseball games

YouTube's first-ever exclusive live game distribution partnership with Major League Baseball will cover games during the second half of the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season.

Such initiatives are separate from YouTube TV, the live channel package that launched in the United States in 2017, which offers original programming in addition to traditional channels - and has online broadcast agreements with three Major League Soccer clubs.

The games will include pre- and post-game shows, and will be produced by MLB Network. Just how much this deal will end up costing Google isn't known yet, either, though the games won't be available via any of your typical TV networks, or even via the MLB.tv subscription streaming service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The news follows a similar deal between the league and Facebook, which will stream half a dozen non-exclusive games through its Watch platform. Other tech companies continue to experiment with live sports.

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This is not YouTube's first foray into sports. Amazon broadcasts "Thursday Night Football", but not exclusively as the games also air on Fox.

"YouTube is an enormously popular video platform with impressive global reach", said Chris Tully, MLB's executive vice president of global media.

The baseball games add to the growing sports lineup on YouTube. "With the media consumption habits of our fans continuing to evolve, Major League Baseball is committed to both expanding our roster or national broadcast platforms and to presenting live games in new ways to our fans".

Facebook, meantime, will carry six live, nonexclusive regular-season games globally this year on Facebook Watch, excluding local markets. Though notable, that's quite a reduction compared to the social network's previous 25 Major League Baseball exclusive games streaming deal.

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