Facebook in exclusive deal to stream 25 Major League Baseball games

Yolanda Curtis
March 9, 2018

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

While MLB may not get in front of many teens through Facebook, it should still get a lot of interested parties watching. The games will be produced by MLB Network specifically for Facebook Watch, and will feature interactivity specifically for the platform.

The social network has struck a deal with the league to exclusively stream 25 baseball games in the USA during the 2018 regular season.

Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo have been streaming some National Football League (NFL) games and Facebook live-streamed 20 MLB games last season, but they were simulcasts of local television broadcasts.

The pact marks the first time that Facebook will exclusively stream competitions from one of the major USA sports leagues.

The first Major League Baseball broadcast will stream on Facebook Watch April 4 live from Citi Field.

YouTube and Major League Baseball agreed their initial sponsorship deal last October.

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

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.

And production by the MLB Network will mean a polished presentation out of the box, but with Facebook able to experiment with social integration and graphics in the broadcast.

YouTube TV has started carrying the MLB Network as part of a deal that makes the company presenting sponsor of the next two World Series.

YouTube TV launched in April 2017, and recently announced a deal with MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC, which gives the service exclusive Los Angeles-area TV rights to 18 games. The live sports matches are a way to draw audiences to Facebook's new Watch video tab, where it also offers shortform shows from producing partners and Facebook-funded midform series.

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