MLB to make YouTube game available in key spots in Pacific Rim

Major League Baseball on Sept. 10 will expand the availability of its scheduled YouTube-exclusive game that day to four key Pacific Rim markets.

The league will make that day’s game between the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels available via the Google-owned video platform in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The countries were four of 23 territories previously excluded in a 13-game rights package signed in April for the second half of the 2019 season.

That MLB-YouTube deal was led by exclusive distribution rights for the set of games in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The 23 excluded territories were due to existing rights deals in those particular areas. But the league, continuing a period of experimentation with distributing games through broad-based streaming platforms, will make the Indians-Angels game available via YouTube in the four prominent markets for baseball that have also completed in prior iterations of the World Baseball Classic, co-owned by MLB, or one of its qualifiers. 

The move also is in keeping with MLB’s historic practice of often testing new technology and media initiatives late in a regular season in advance of potential wider rollouts the following year.

The Indians-Angels game will also notably feature popular Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, a designated hitter for the Angels, though that was not the driving reason to make the game available in Japan.

The game will be played at 10:07 PM Eastern, and will hit a daytime audience in the Asia, Australia, and Oceania regions as that time corresponds to 11:07 AM the following day in Tokyo, and 12:07 PM the following day in Sydney.