Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Facebook Strikes Deal with Major League Baseball for Exclusivity on 25 Live Games

Facebook Strikes Deal with Major League Baseball for Exclusivity on 25 Live Games

While Facebook has streamed Major League Baseball games in the past, this is the company's first exclusive deal and the MLB's first digital-only national broadcast program.

The games will stream on Facebook Watch via its MLB Live page.

Last season, Major League Baseball and Facebook partnered to live stream 20 games weekly on Friday nights as national simulcasts.

The agreement will mark the first time a major US league will have its games exclusively streamed on Facebook, which has worked to ramp up its live sports offerings in recent months. A move which only furthers the extent of the company's encroachment upon the territories of traditional TV giants. Facebook said Friday that recorded broadcasts also will be available globally, excluding select worldwide markets. The first Facebook-only game will be on April 4th between the Phillies and Mets.

Facebook had a package of 20 non-exclusive Friday night games a year ago that began in mid-May and used broadcast feeds from the participating teams. Games will be streamed on smartphones, tablets, computers and "other connected devices, including home TVs", notes Bloomberg.

The partnership for weekday afternoon games, announced Friday, was unanimously approved by MLB's 30 clubs. Major League Baseball will release the broadcast schedule a month at a time, to allow for more flexibility and the ability to stream games later in the season that may have more playoff implications.

Major League Baseball announced Friday morning that it has expanded its relationship with Facebook. To differentiate the games being streamed on social network, the games will include social integrations that will only be available during Facebook broadcasts. You'll be able to watch the first game of this exclusivity deal on April 4, with a game between the Phillies and the Mets. The games will be produced by MLB Network, meaning the broadcasts will look similarly to a game that would air on that network on television. "It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week". If you are hoping to watch the game, you'd better have a Facebook account.

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