- Major League Baseball is teaming up with Google on a multi-platform brand and content partnership, with the Google Assistant serving as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 American and National League Championship Series, which begins Oct. 12, according to a news release.
- Google Assistant will be featured with brand exposure and creative integrations across the series' national broadcast partners Fox, FS1 and TBS; the MLB's media platforms MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app; and the four ballparks for the series. This will include broadcasters asking Google Assistant questions during live games, according to Ad Age.
- MLB and Google are also collaborating on original content programming showing how baseball fans are enhancing their League Championship Series (LCS) experiences using the Assistant wherever they are. MLB will create unique LCS-themed Instagram Stories spotlighting the Google Assistant and featuring LCS teams.
Google is going all-in on baseball this year with MLB serving as a major partner in areas where the search giant is looking to gain on its competition. This week's playoffs news shows how Google is trying to build momentum as it starts to catch up to Amazon in the digital assistant and smart speaker space. The news also follows closely on the heels of Google launching its Home Hub smart speaker with a display screen in a competitive move against Amazon and its Echo Show device. The search giant is also airing World Series games on YouTube TV as competition among premium streaming services heats up.
The MLB campaign for Google Assistant aims to highlight how easy it is for passionate baseball fans to keep up with the playoffs. Google clearly hopes that it can get these fans to start using Assistant for more activities once they're introduced to how easy it is. The most popular activities for smart speaker owners include listening to music, weather forecasts and setting reminders, according to a recent Adobe report.
Marketers are leveraging voice technology to provide customer service and product information, but see voice's potential in offering personalization, as the voice assistants gather insights and become more informed over time. While consumers have a growing interest in voice, widespread adoption of has been relatively slow. In a recent survey by MusicWatch, 48% of respondents said they were concerned about privacy issues on voice-enabled devices, and that most people are using smart speakers to listen to music and online radio.
The MLB also partnered with Facebook this season to stream 25 games via Facebook Watch with in-game elements created for watching, sharing and interacting on the platform and on-demand highlights and recaps. The league also live streamed its Home Run Derby VR Championship in July on social media platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Mixer. The competition featured a special All-Star version of the virtual reality game.