YouTube and MLB team up to stream 15 upcoming games for free

YouTube and MLB team up to stream 15 upcoming games for free

Major League Baseball is the largest professional baseball organization in the world, and its 2022 season just started earlier this month. MLB already has some of the most complicated distribution and streaming deals of any sport or television, and now MLB and YouTube are mixing it up further with a new streaming deal.

Major League Baseball said in an announcement on Thursday, “YouTube and Major League Baseball on Thursday announced the renewal of their longstanding, fan-favorite partnership and the return of MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube, featuring 15 games throughout the 2022 regular season, streamed live, for free, to fans around the world in 182 countries. This season’s MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube premieres on May 5 at 3:10 p.m. ET, with the Washington Nationals facing off against the Colorado Rockies.”


YouTube has partnered with MLB for streaming rights in previous seasons, but this time around, it won’t require a YouTube TV or YouTube Premium subscription. The games will be available to watch on the MLB YouTube channel, and if you prefer to watch on YouTube TV anyway, the games will appear on the dedicated Game of the Week channel.

As Yahoo pointed out in its coverage, this adds yet another exclusivity deal in the already-complicated MLB season. There are 18 Sunday games only available in the US with a Peacock subscription, on top of Friday Doubleheaders on Apple TV+ and Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. Even though YouTube is more accessible than those services (and free), the increasing number of exclusivity deals is difficult to keep track. MLB’s broadcasting blackout rules are so extensive and complicated that they have their own dedicated Wikipedia article.

Major League Baseball has seen a decline in both real-life attendance and at-home viewership over the past few years, with 2021 marking a 37-year low for per-game attendance. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic kept many people away from large sporting events during that time, but at-home viewing fell too (by around 12% from 2019). Moving some games to YouTube might be a way to increase viewership, but it likely won’t move the needle too much.

Source: MLB, Yahoo

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

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