MLB, YouTube Renew Partnership to Stream 21 Games in 2021 Season
Major League Baseball (MLB) and YouTube announced the return of MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube, featuring 21 games delivered directly to fans around the world throughout the course of the 2021 regular season. MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube premieres on April 7 at 1 pm ET, with the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays facing the Boston Red Sox. This marks the third season of this deal, and another venture in what’s been a decade-long relationship between the two companies.
For the third straight year, MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube will be home for fans looking to watch and interact with the best teams and most exciting stars the sport has to offer. Fans will be able to access each broadcast for free from any device, including the free YouTube app on smart TVs, simply by tuning into MLB’s YouTube channel, or for YouTube TV members, on a dedicated channel via the app. New for 2021 is the “YouTube Player of the Game,” where fans watching on mobile devices and computers can vote for the standout player, who will receive a trophy during the postgame show — in the first month alone, fans will have the ability to vote for the likes of Mike Trout, Xander Bogaerts, José Ramírez, Alex Bregman, Josh Donaldson, and Randy Arozarena.
All 21 broadcasts this season will again be produced by MLB Network’s Emmy Award-winning production team, beginning with a marquee matchup featuring the Tampa Bay Rays visiting Fenway Park to face the Boston Red Sox on April 7 at 1 pm ET, called by Scott Braun, Hall of Famer John Smoltz, and 13-year MLB veteran Carlos Peña. Pregame coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET with MLB Network’s Stephen Nelson and Bill Ripken.
Following the first game, the stars will take the field at night on April 22, as the Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros at 8 pm ET. Rounding out the month’s three games, will be the two-time defending AL Central Division champion Minnesota Twins traveling to Cleveland to take on the Indians on April 28 at 1 pm ET. Announcer details for the April 22 and April 28 games will be announced at a later date, and future matchups will be announced as the schedules are set throughout the season.
“Our partnership with MLB is always a highlight on the sports calendar for us and 2021 is going to be our biggest year yet,” says Tim Katz, Head of Sports and News Partnerships, YouTube. “YouTube shows up for its partners when and where they need us by offering unique in-game features to engage fans of all ages across the globe. With two successful seasons under our belts, we look forward to delivering 21 games this season to fans who have come to expect our creative presentation that is both easy to access and engaging, and we look forward to taking it to even greater heights.”
Several only-on-YouTube features will be part of the broadcast productions this season, including the return of the live chat featuring game commentary from over 40 sports-focused YouTube creators. In-game polls that keep fans engaged and connected with the announcers throughout the game will also return. Fans watching on YouTube TV with a membership will also have the ability to re-watch key plays tied to the exact moment they are watching, as well as check out real-time stats from the game Additionally, the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube Pregame Show will begin 30 minutes prior to each game’s scheduled start time and air live on YouTube.
“MLB content on YouTube continues to play a pivotal role in showcasing our club, player and baseball storylines to new audiences; and extending our live game offering across a full season is a significant step in the evolution of our partnership,” says Dominick Balsamo, MLB Senior Vice President, Global Media & Business Development. “The fun and creative engagement opportunities featured in the MLB Game of the Week on YouTube allow us to connect with baseball fans on another level and bring them closer to the game.”