NEW YORK—YouTube is stepping to the plate once again to exclusively broadcast 21 games for the 2021 MLB season, known as the “MLB Game of the Week on YouTube,” the third year the video platform will do so.
The games will be available for free on any device that can carry the YouTube app, including smart TVs, via the MLB’s YouTube channel, or for YouTube TV subscribers on a dedicated channel in the app. All of the broadcasts will be produced by the MLB Network’s production team.
The first game of YouTube’s slate of 21 is an April 7 matchup of the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at 1 p.m. ET. Two other games have been announced thus far: the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Angels on April 22 at 8 p.m. ET and the Minnesota Twins playing Cleveland on April 28 at 1 p.m. ET. The rest of the MLB Game of the Week on YouTube games will be announced as schedules are set throughout the season.
YouTube will have some exclusive features as part of its broadcasts, including live chat for game commentary, in-game polls and the carriage of a pregame show 30 minutes prior to game time live on YouTube. New this year, fans watching on mobile devices and computers will be able to vote on the “YouTube Player of the Game.” YouTube TV subscribers will also have some exclusive features, as they can re-watch key plays tied to the moment they are watching and view real-time stats.
This will be the third season that YouTube and MLB have partnered on exclusive games. In 2019, YouTube carried 13 games, which averaged 1.2 million live views per game. The video platform carried four games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“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,” said Tim Katz, head of Sports and News Partnerships, YouTube.
This is not the only package YouTube TV is offering for the MLB season. The vMVPD platform also is allowing subscribers to add MLB.TV as an add-on to watch out-of-market games.
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