YouTube revealed this week that it reached an agreement on the exclusive rights in the U.S. to live stream 13 Major League Baseball (MLB) games this season.

According to a statement announcing the deal, the games will be available globally on YouTube and exclusively in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Under the agreement, the games will simultaneously stream on the official MLB YouTube channel and on a new channel being added to the YouTube TV live OTT streaming service. YouTube TV offers a package of popular cable TV channels and other content for a $50 monthly subscription fee.

Financial terms or other incentives involved in the deal were not disclosed.

Coverage is to include pre- and post-game programming in addition to input created by YouTube content creators.

The YouTube creators selected to participate were not yet revealed. Neither were the 13 games and dates to be featured in the coverage that starts after the All-Star break.

Through the exclusivity arrangement for the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, games will not be available to television networks or transmitted over MLB.TV. Carriage arrangements in other countries and regions will vary according to pre-existing terms and partnerships, although the games will be made available via YouTube to most regions internationally.

“With Major League Baseball’s expanding international fan base, we are confident YouTube’s global audience will bring fans around the world together in one place to watch the games and teams they love,” stated Timothy Katz, the YouTube’s head of sports and news partnerships.

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Chris Tully, MLB executive vice president for global media, added: “We are excited to expand our partnership with YouTube to provide fans with an exclusive, customised live game viewing experience. With the media consumption habits of our fans continuing to evolve, MLB is committed both to expanding our roster of national broadcast platforms and to presenting live games in new ways to our fans.”

The arrangement is similar to one made between the MLB and Facebook last year. That arrangement led to Facebook exclusively streaming 25 games during the 2018 season. This year, Facebook is streaming six games non-exclusively on Facebook Watch.

By Greg Tarr

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