Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Facebook Signs Exclusive Deal to Stream 25 MLB Games

Facebook to stream 25 MLB games Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Cristina Norman | 10 March, 2018, 01:54

Facebook is officially the first social network to have exclusive rights to stream games from a USA professional league. Every game also will be available globally on the show page, excluding select global markets.

The first game on Facebook this season will be an April 4 afternoon game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

YouTube TV plans once again to incorporate Major League Baseball players in its promotional efforts throughout the multi-year deal, which will also include a variety of national TV spots and on-air call-outs during the games, branding across MLB's digital properties and official social media accounts, and in-stadium promotion.

Although the games are not the playoffs or the World Series, analyst Lee Berke told CNN it shows Facebook is becoming a major media competitor. The game will start at 1:10 p.m. EST.

The Royals' April 18 game at Toronto won't be shown on Fox Sports Kansas City as planned.

The package, MLB's first digital-only national broadcast agreement, precludes teams from televising those games on their regional sports networks. In addition to exclusive United States rights, Facebook will also air games globally but won't have exclusive rights there.

Last season, Facebook livestreamed 20 Friday games as a simulcast with the teams' local television broadcasts.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", Tony Petitti, Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media for MLB, said in a statement. Viewers will be able to watch on smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected devices, including home TVs. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the USA and around the world.

The sports streaming landscape has grown increasingly competitive in recent years, with digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon bidding millions to secure exclusive rights to lure new users. According to the press release, "MLB Network will introduce new in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook".

Facebook is getting deeper into the professional sports streaming game, partnering with Major League Baseball to air 25 weekday afternoon games in an exclusive deal.

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