With the MLS season fast approaching the inaugural season for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) will soon be upon us. Another team announcement was made further cementing their status as a full fledged franchise.
LAFC announced a historic multi-year sponsorship deal with YouTube TV to be their broadcast partner and jersey sponsor. YouTube TV will broadcast all of LAFC’s English language games including their national broadcast games carried on ESPN, Fox, and Fox Sports 1.
Welcome to the family! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/SnJs0KPbUn
— YouTube Space LA (@YouTubeSpaceLA) January 31, 2018
As part of the deal the YouTube TV logo will be displayed prominently on the LAFC jersey, this deal makes LAFC the first pro sports team to have exclusive local broadcasting rights on a streaming service.
LAFC Owner and President Tom Penn made a statement regarding the new partnership.
“This truly is a historic day for our Club,” LAFC Owner and President Tom Penn said. “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 all of LAFC’s matches in one place during our inaugural season.”
The team will have content featured on a dedicated YouTube sight and 30 of their 34 games will be hosted on an exclusive YouTube site in the Los Angeles area. The team is also looking for their local Spanish television partner. English and Spanish radio broadcasters have yet to be finalized as well.
Fans at Banc of California Stadium should expect to see plenty of evidence of this new partnership. Each broadcast will have a 30 minute pre and post game show hosted from the YouTube TV Studio set at the stadium.
YouTube TV is one of the many new streaming services that has popped up recently, replacing over the air and cable television for consumers who have “cut the cord.” Other major sports leagues like the NFL have had their games broadcast over streaming sights to try and reach those that have left their cable companies.
By partnering with YouTube TV, LAFC will be able to control their video content without the restrictions of networks standards, as well as avoiding playing second to other broadcast partners such as the LA Galaxy in their tenant situation to the Los Angeles Lakers on Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles) and Spectrum SportsNet Deportes.
Since starting in April of 2017 YouTube TV has picked about 300,000 subscribers way behind other services such as Sling TV and Direct TV Now. Such a small subscriber base makes it risky for LAFC to enter into this broadcast partnership.
Innovative or not, if LAFC can only be seen by a few people their may be limitations to growing their fan base. With their continued partnerships the LA-based club is showing that they are willing to take risks and innovate to make a presence in the league and in the city.
It remains to be seen what this partnership will produce, but no one can say that Los Angeles Football Club is not cutting their own path to stardom.