NAD Finds T-Mobile’s Claim “Best Network for Streaming Baseball” Supported By Evidence Following Challenge by AT&T Services, Inc.

New York, NY – Dec. 10, 2018 – The National Advertising Division concluded that T-Mobile USA, Inc. had substantiated its claims that it offers a combination of baseball benefits and streaming video capabilities to support its “Best Network for Streaming Baseball” claim.  NAD also concluded that the challenged advertisements did not convey the implied message that T-Mobile has the best network for streaming video or that its plans include a free subscription to MLB.TV.

AT&T Services, Inc. challenged express claims made by T-Mobile USA, Inc. in radio, television, and internet advertising, including:

  • “Best Network for Streaming Baseball.”
  • “T-Mobile is the best network for streaming baseball.”
  • “BEST NETWORK FOR BASEBALL”

Following its review of the challenged advertisements, NAD found that due to each commercial’s focus on Major League Baseball, the claim “Best Network for Streaming Baseball” was a limited claim that does not imply that T-Mobile has the best network for streaming video overall. Further. NAD found that the “Best Network for Streaming Baseball” claim is substantiated by a combination of Ookla data provided by T-Mobile demonstrating that its network consistently provides sufficient speed to deliver streaming content and by baseball benefits that T-Mobile offers to consumers through its exclusive relationship with Major League Baseball that are superior to the competition.

AT&T noted that T-Mobile’s advertising depicted baseball fans watching out-of-market games and argued that doing so implied that consumers have access to every out-of-market game since every game is only available via MLB.TV— implying that T-Mobile offers MLB.TV to its customers free of charge as part of its service, rather than as a separate paid subscription. NAD noted that the challenged advertising does not mention MLB.TV.  The issue, therefore, was whether the advertisements reasonably convey the message that MLB.TV is part of T-Mobile’s wireless plans.

Although the commercials depict viewers watching an out of market baseball game in iconic locations such as the New York City subway and the Brooklyn Bridge, NAD determined that such images do not reasonably convey the message that T-Mobile offers MLB.TV with every service plan.  Nor does the language, “If you want to follow them all season, you want a network that goes where you go” and “never miss a game-changing moment” necessarily convey the message that a T-Mobile plan allows T-Mobile subscribers access to MLB.TV. While only MLB.TV provides every out of market game to subscribers, baseball games are available on numerous services.

In its advertiser’s statement, T-Mobile thanked NAD for its careful consideration of this matter and stated that it was pleased by NAD’s findings that T-Mobile and Major League Baseball have a unique partnership that offers only T-Mobile customers benefits that others cannot offer, and T-Mobile’s network delivers the speeds necessary to stream video on a more consistent basis.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.