During Game 1 of the 2017 World Series, YouTube TV began its run as the presenting sponsor of this year’s Fall Classic. The sponsorship put YouTube’s six-month-old live TV service, which offers a package of nearly 50 channels in exchange for $35 per month, in front of an audience of millions.
How did the baseball-loving public react to this pitch? The most common emotion seems to be confusion. As part of its World Series campaign, YouTube put its iconic play button on a billboard behind home plate. That strategy proved chaotic for viewers; the play button ended up in the dead center of FOX’s camera and made the game look like an embedded video clip.
Is the YouTube play button behind home driving anyone else nuts? Makes me want to hit play to get rid of it.
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— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 25, 2017
YouTube TV’s World Series initiative began with a two-minute commercial that aired directly before the first pitch. The campaign continued throughout the evening, with the game’s announcers regularly mentioning the subscription service. The home plate play button, however, drew far more social media attention than any of YouTube’s other attempts to integrate itself into the MLB’s championship round.
Oh, man, you absoultely have to stop what you’re doing right now and watch this video. pic.twitter.com/l44kJoi208
— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) October 25, 2017
On one hand, sure, the positioning of that play button is distracting, but let’s take a moment to recognize just how ubiquitous YouTube has become in our daily lives. Its iconography is woven so completely into our culture that any sign of a red play button seems to trigger an instinctive desire to click and watch.
As for the game itself, the pitchers for the Dodgers and the Astros didn’t seem too bothered by the bright red emblem staring back at them. The Dodgers ultimately won a low-scoring affair that finished with a final score of 3-1.