YouTube and Major League Baseball have renewed their streaming pact for the 2022 season, which will result in 15 regular season matches shown exclusively on the platform. The first will be streamed on May 15 between the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies.
The news continues MLB’s efforts to reach viewers across many different streaming services. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the current season:
- Apple TV Plus has Baseball on Friday nighta weekly doubleheader available exclusively on Apple TV Plus in eight countries during the regular season.
- Peacock will stream 18 early Sunday games starting May 8, all but one exclusive to the platform.
- Amazon Prime video will exclusively stream 21 games of the New York Yankees in the team’s home market during the 2022 season. Amazon is already simultaneously broadcasting in-market games after it acquired a stake in the YES Network in 2019.
- YouTube say There will be 15 games available “live, free, for fans around the world in 182 countries.”
A welcome improvement for the YouTube games is that they are shown in better quality: the feed will now be 1080p with a frame rate of 60 fps, according to CNET, an increase from the 30 fps 720p stream of previous years. MLB also says several “only-on-YouTube” features will be included, such as “live chat with game commentary from MLB superfan YouTube creators,” in-game polls, and unique replays and real-time stats for YouTube TV subscribers.
These deals make it a bit complicated for die-hard fans to watch their favorite team(s). Since the exclusive games are not shown on regional sports networks, having MLB.TV and a local (or internet) TV package is no longer enough if you don’t want to miss any action all season. But then again, the baseball season is very, very long, and it might be worth jumping between shifts if these moves successfully bring new, younger fans into the game and increase viewership. That’s the whole point, after all.