Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Facebook Nabs MLB Exclusive Global Rights to 25 Games

Facebook Nabs MLB Exclusive Global Rights to 25 Games

Facebook will stream 25 Major League Baseball games this season, and you won't be able to watch them anywhere else online or on TV. "This is part of the next great leap". In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv, the longest running sports streaming service in the USA, for an additional fee.

Last year, Facebook reached a deal with Fox Sports to livestream more than 12 UEFA Champions League soccer matches for the 2017-18 season. Facebook's ad revenue past year totaled $40 billion. All of them will be weekday afternoon games.

The games will be available across devices including mobile phones and connected TVs and will offer viewers some interactivity options.

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The games will not be available in certain "select global markets", but Facebook and Major League Baseball did not identify which ones. For the first time, YouTube TV will also partner with MLB on a brand new season-long sponsorship - "First Pitch" - that will bring to life the YouTube TV brand during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv, and will be amplified on MLB.com and MLB social channels.

The first game streamed in the package will take place Wednesday, April 4, when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the New York Mets.

Major League Baseball will produce and distribute 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.

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Major League Baseball will continue to promote YouTube TV during the best-of-seven game series, with the service's branding to be featured across MLB's digital and social platforms and in stadiums, while YouTube TV will use Major League Baseball stars in its own advertising through a variety of national TV spots. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the US and around the world.

Regardless of the success of platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and Amazon in snatching the Thursday Night Football deal away from Twitter last year) getting these games on their platforms, the big primetime moments still elude those platforms and are all but locked up by incumbents. Now, with full media rights, Facebook is showing it can win rights to sought-after programming.

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