YouTube to Be Live TV Partner of New L.A. Soccer Team

LAFC - Arial - publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Subject

The live television service will have exclusive rights to locally televised, English-language Los Angeles Football Club matches.

YouTube is getting into the sports licensing game. 

The Google-owned streamer has inked a multiyear deal with the Los Angeles Football Club to become the official live television partner of the new MLS team. 

As part of the deal, YouTube's live television service, YouTube TV, will be the exclusive home of all locally televised, English-language LAFC matches. Further, the YouTube TV logo will be featured on LAFC jerseys. 

ESPN, Fox and Univision have already struck deals to nationally broadcast 16 of LAFC's matches in 2018. Those matches will also be available on YouTube TV through the service's carriage deals with those networks. All told, 30 of LAFC's 34 regular-season matches will be available to watch via YouTube TV. 

"This truly is a historic day for our club," LAFC owner and president Tom Penn said Wednesday in a statement. "YouTube TV is an ambitious and innovative brand that we are proud to showcase on the front of our jersey and in our community. We are excited to provide our fans with a new and creative way to watch nearly all of LAFC's matches in one place during our inaugural season." 

The local LAFC matches will be accessible on YouTube TV via their own channel, which will feature additional shoulder programming. The matches will be available only to YouTube TV subscribers in the Los Angeles market. 

YouTube's broadcasts will begin 30 minutes before the start of each game and will feature pre-game and post-game coverage from a YouTube TV studio at LAFC's new Banc of California Stadium south of downtown Los Angeles.

"LAFC is reimagining the sports landscape in the same innovative way we strive to reimagine the live TV experience," said Tim Katz, YouTube director of sports partnerships for the Americas. "We couldn't be more excited to partner with LAFC to be the exclusive home for all locally televised matches and to share our name on the front of their jerseys." 

This year marks the inaugural MLS season for LAFC, which was created in 2014 through the league's expansion process. The team's new stadium, situated in Exposition Park, is expected to be completed in April. 

YouTube launched its $35-per-month YouTube TV service in April 2017. It offers local live programming from nearly 50 networks, including the major broadcasters and cable channels such as AMC and FX. It is currently available in more than 80 markets in the U.S.