Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Facebook to show 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Facebook to show 25 Major League Baseball games this season

In addition to desktop and television, the games will be available across all Facebook Watch platforms, including smartphones and other mobile devices.

Beyond the game streams, MLB will also produce special content specifically for Facebook, such as on-demand highlights and weekly recaps for all 30 teams in the league, which will be viewable on Facebook Watch. "Community and conversation are central to both baseball and Facebook, and MLB Network's innovative broadcasts will bring these interactive and social elements of the game to life to fans around the world in new ways on our platform". The company started livestreaming games back in May 2017, but this is the first time a United States major league has granted a social network sole rights to broadcast games.

The games will be produced by the MLB Network, meaning they'll have a broadcast look and feel.

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MLB Deputy Commissioner Tony Petitti called the move, "a major creative step forward".

The agreement is a coup for Facebook, which had not previously secured an exclusive streaming deal with any of the major American sports leagues. Neither MLB nor Facebook disclosed the financial terms, though people with knowledge of the matter put the price at $30 million to $35 million. The partnership marks the league's first ever digital-only national broadcast.

The partnership - which begins on April 4 with a matchup between the Mets and Phillies - will see Facebook take on more than two dozen afternoon, weekday games.

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Although Facebook opted out of a bidding war for the NFL's Thursday Night Football games, its roster of sports streams has expanded greatly in recent years with soccer, college basketball and now professional baseball.

The games will not be available in certain "select global markets", but Facebook and Major League Baseball did not identify which ones.

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