Last fall, YouTube TV served as the presenting sponsor for the World Series, plastering its logo all across the Fox broadcast and using a play-button image behind home plate to create the illusion that the entire game was a YouTube video.
Now, the streaming service is at it again, having reached a deal to become the first ever presenting sponsor of the NBA Finals. ESPN’s Darren Rovell tweeted the official Finals logo with “presented by YouTube TV” appended at the bottom.
JUST IN: The NBA has, for the first time, sold a presenting partner sponsorship to the NBA Finals. Here’s the updated logo with YouTube, which will appear on both TV and on court. pic.twitter.com/zVoLz0Ws2J
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 26, 2018
The deal represents another ambitious marketing play for the year-old premium streaming service. Per Rovell, the YouTube TV name will appear on television broadcasts as well as on the court during the Finals.
YouTube TV clearly views sports as a big part of its plan for growth. In addition to sponsoring both the World Series and the NBA Finals, the service has loaded up on sports networks, debuting with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, FS1, FS2, CBS Sports Network, Golf Channel, and NBCSN before adding Big Ten Network, TBS, TNT, MLB Network and NBA TV. It does not currently have NFL Network or NHL Network.
Additionally, YouTube TV has begun to invest in live sports streaming, picking up local broadcast rights for the Seattle Sounders and LAFC of MLS.
Of course, having all those networks and all those rights doesn’t mean too much if no one knows you exist, which seems to be where the high-profile sponsorships come in. As YouTube TV expands to more and more markets, it apparently views sporting events as a perfect venue through which to spread the word.
Terms of the YouTube TV-NBA deal have not been announced, but you have to imagine the streaming service made an overwhelming offer. Something convinced the league to enlist a presenting sponsor on its marquee event for the first time, and it probably wasn’t a love of cat videos.