Google’s YouTube reached a deal with Major League Baseball for exclusive rights to stream games in the second half of the season, continuing the expansion of live sports to the internet.
The 13 games will be distributed on YouTube globally, and exclusively in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, the parties said Tuesday. The actual match-ups, which haven’t been chosen yet, will stream live on MLB’s official YouTube channel and via a new channel on YouTube TV. Coverage will feature pre- and post-game shows, and include YouTube creators.
The baseball games add to the growing sports lineup on YouTube. The NBA, for instance, uses YouTube to distribute live games in Africa, while several Major League Soccer teams — including the Los Angeles Football Club and the Seattle Sounders, stream their games locally. Along with Amazon’s Twitch, YouTube is also one of the biggest live broadcasters of competitive video games.
The games on YouTube will be produced by the MLB Network, meaning they’ll have a broadcast look and feel. MLB, which has been live streaming games since 2002, started its YouTube channel in 2005, according to the parties. MLB generated 1.25 billion channel views in 2018, up 25 percent from the year before.