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Volume 21 No. 18
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YouTube TV’s deal for Series fills MLB’s presenting sponsor roster for postseason

Google’s YouTube TV digital pay service will be the first Word Series presenting sponsor and will use the attraction of Fox’s game telecasts to promote brand awareness and sign-ups.

The sponsorship, which lasts through the postseason, includes six-second ads on Fox’s broadcasts during the Fall Classic, along with traditional ad inventory on Fox, a presence on MLB Network and MLB-controlled digital and social media. In-stadium elements include virtual signage and a logo lockup that will appear throughout the World Series ballparks.

The YouTube TV-World Series hookup marks the first time MLB has signed a presenting sponsor for every playoff round. T-Mobile, an MLB corporate sponsor since 2013, bought the presenting sponsorship for the two National League Division Series matchups, and South Korean conglomerate Doosan signed a sponsorship that included presenting status to the two American League Division Series matchups.

Over the past few weeks, Camping World joined the fold, with a five-year deal that includes presenting sponsorship of the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series. Anheuser-Busch InBev sponsored the Wild Card games in previous years, but not this season.

MLB took the lead on these deals, including YouTube TV, the upstart digital service that already has deals with Fox Sports. Launched as a relatively low-cost alternative to traditional cable, YouTube TV carries Fox, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network, in addition to Fox Business, Fox News and FX. It has around 40 channels and costs $35 per month.

While YouTube TV is expected to compete with Fox Sports for live rights at some point within the next decade, Fox executives say they consider the sponsorship as similar to selling ads to a cable or satellite distributor — something it does regularly.

YouTube TV, through its World Series sponsor deal, will generate content around the Fall Classic via access given to some of its correspondents during the series. It will promote a sweepstakes that will offer VIP World Series tickets as the top prize.

“This is the first deal of its kind for one of these services attaching itself to a major sporting event,” said Noah Garden, MLB executive vice president of business. “Obviously we want to reach fans using any device. It means we can reach a younger audience, so I think you’ll see more deals like this across sports.”