When the 2018 NBA Finals begin on May 31, don’t be surprised if YouTube’s iconic red play button nabs a courtside seat. Thanks to a multi-year pact, the world’s top video site’s YouTube TV service will be the official presenting sponsor of the NBA’s championship series.
The partnership between YouTube TV and the NBA will include in-game callouts, TV commercials, and in-arena iconography. In other words, the campaign sounds a lot like the one YouTube used to advertise its skinny bundle during last year’s World Series, when its play button became a major part of the broadcast.
YouTube TV will also be the presenting sponsor of the championship rounds for both the WNBA and the G-League, the latter of which is the NBA’s developmental tier. While the exact length of the agreement isn’t known, Variety noted the deal “runs through at least 2019.”
Last November, YouTube expressed excitement about the results of its World Series campaign, and in recent months, the video site has chased many more sports-related partnerships. It has re-upped its World Series sponsorship to cover two more Fall Classics, and it has snagged exclusive streaming rights for multiple Major League Soccer teams, including the perennially competitive Seattle Sounders.
Now, YouTube TV will be introduced to basketball fans, too, and that pitch is coming at a good time. The skinny bundle added NBA TV to its channel roster back in February, sweetening the deal for hoops aficionados. That hub, as well as more than 50 others, are available to US-based subscribers who pay $40 per month for access to live TV.