Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Facebook reaches exclusive deal to stream 25 MLB games

Facebook reaches exclusive deal to stream 25 MLB games

"We're excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season", said Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships.

If you follow the MLB Live Facebook page, you'll be able to find the games easily.

In addition to the games themselves, there will also be "on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game, as well as club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 MLB teams" produced by the league and airing on Facebook. Reports put Facebook's future spending on live sports licensing in the range of a few billion dollars.

The Mets will share the first Facebook Watch-aired Major League Baseball game with the Phillies on April 4.

The deal also includes on-demand highlight packages and recaps for each club, produced by Major League Baseball for Facebook.

It's also worth noting this is one of the few instances of a digital player taking valuable content away from traditional TV - in this case, games from a major US sports league.

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Facebook has loaded up on live sports content over the previous year as a way to drive more video viewers to its platform.

The NFL partnered with Twitter to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games in 2016 for a reported $10 million. Last year, the Major League Baseball streamed one Friday game a week, but it wasn't exclusive to Facebook. Louis on April 11, Kansas City-Toronto on April 18 and Arizona-Philadelphia on April 26.

All of the games will be on weekday afternoons, which are not exactly prime viewing hours for TV, but also do not conflict with the league's prime-time national games or weekend games.

It's the first time a major USA league has agreed to show regular season games exclusively on Facebook, which has been building a portfolio of live sports. According to the press release, "MLB Network will introduce new in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook".

While Facebook's streaming rights are exclusive only to the United States, the social network will also have the rights to broadcast the games globally, giving viewers outside of the alternative way to watch games.

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