YouTube TV to use World Series as first big brand awareness effort

Wrigley Field in Chicago
The Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field played co-host to the World Series in 2016. (Rdikeman/CC BY-SA 3.0)

YouTube TV is taking its first steps toward marketing its streaming TV service to a much wider audience by signing on as presenting sponsor for and running ads during the World Series.

The World Series, airing on Fox, will see TV ads for the service. Meanwhile, the service will run ads on Major League Baseball’s digital properties and stadiums. YouTube TV will also incorporate MLB players in its promotions.

Beyond the more straightforward marketing, YouTube and MLB will also tap players and YouTube contributors to create “original, World Series-themed content” that will provide behind-the-scenes looks at ballparks and other aspects of the World Series.

"We built a cable-free service that makes it easier than ever for fans to get access to their favorite live TV programming—including amazing live sporting events like the World Series on FOX," said Kelly Merryman, managing director of content partnerships in the Americas for YouTube. "When we were thinking about partnerships to showcase the power of YouTube TV, Major League Baseball and the World Series was the perfect fit. It's a great next step in our long-term relationship with the league."

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With some luck, YouTube TV could have its name attached to a World Series that experiences a ratings and engagement resurgence like the 2016 World Series, which saw the Chicago Cubs win their first national title in more than 100 years.

Last year, game 7 of the series pitting the Cubs against the Cleveland Indians pulled in more than 40 million viewers, making it the most watched baseball game in the past 25 years.

YouTube TV added 12 more markets to its availability list last month. The service is now in 41 markets overall.