Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Facebook in exclusive deal to stream 25 Major League Baseball games

Facebook in exclusive deal to stream 25 Major League Baseball games

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our clubs to connect with people around the world", said Tony Petitti, deputy commissioner of business and media for MLB. They asked not to be identified because the terms are private.

Lee Berke, an industry consultant speaking to Bloomberg, said that much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you're reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap. In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add, the longest running sports streaming service in the USA, for an additional fee. In addition to its previous Major League Baseball deal, the social network has also struck deals to stream Mexican soccer and college basketball. They will also be able to put their mark on the broadcasts and add a social network flair to each game. Facebook's ad revenue past year totaled $40 billion.

Bonus: if the usual Facebook behavior of your weird uncle, your childhood friend and that woman you knew ten years ago, friended on Facebook and then "liked" every comment she made as a means of trying to recapture that time when you should've made your move but were to afraid to do so are any indication, the comments should be entertaining even if the games aren't.

Facebook's first exclusive Major League Baseball game will air on April 4 at 1:10 p.m. ET and feature the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.

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The games will be available across devices including mobile phones and connected TVs and will offer viewers some interactivity options. According to the press release, "MLB Network will introduce new in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook".

It's the first time that Facebook has secured exclusive rights to a major US sporting event, and the first time that Major League Baseball has had "digital-only national broadcasts".

In addition, Major League Baseball has set up the production and distribution of specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast, including on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the USA and around the world.

The NFL partnered with Twitter to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games in 2016 for a reported $10 million. Facebook had bid the previous two years.

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