The collaboration between YouTube and Major League Baseball (MLB) began in 2019 with a YouTube live stream of an MLB game. This live stream alone drew 200,000 viewers. Following this success, YouTube went on to live stream 13 more games, generating 1.2 million views, featuring pre-and post-game shows. Despite the MLB season being cut short last year due to COVID-19, with YouTube only being able to broadcast four games in September, the relationship is still strong.
The recently announced renewal occurs after YouTube TV introduced MLB.TV as an additional service for subscribers last month. After three years of working closely they continue to expand, with YouTube announcing plans to live stream 21 games for free this season.
This partnership will broadcast the ‘MLB Game of the Week Live On YouTube,’ with the Tampa Bay Rays taking on the Boston Red Sox on April 7th, 2021. Following them, on April 22nd, the Los Angeles Angels will face the Houston Astros. The Minnesota Twins will face the Cleveland Indians on April 28th, less than a week later. It’s not over yet, as the league plans to announce more games in the near future.
For devoted fans, each broadcast will be available through the YouTube app on smart TVs, the MLB’s YouTube channel, and the MLB’s YouTube TV channel. MLB Network’s production staff will continue to produce all 21 broadcasts. This includes pre-game coverage beginning thirty minutes before each scheduled game.
New features to come
To add to the excitement of this season, the first game will have a new feature “YouTube Player of the Game”. Fans can vote for a player to win a trophy during the postgame show thanks to this new interactive feature. This season, unique features are returning, such as the live chat element, where we can engage with polls and commentary from a wide range of sporting YouTubers. Fans that have YouTube TV subscriptions will be able to watch playbacks of big plays and collect real-time stats.
The MLB has an opportunity to showcase its club, players, and stories to a broader audience by streaming content on YouTube. Expanding live game coverage through an entire season could be a major step in the development of their collaboration. The live streaming of this season’s games is a high point on the sporting calendar for the fan base. With two years of growth for both YouTube and MLB, as well as more exclusive features, the 2021 season live stream maybe YouTube’s most successful year to date.