Facebook Will Exclusively Stream These Major League Baseball Games This Season
Facebook and Major League Baseball have signed a deal in which 25 baseball games will only be broadcast in the U.S. on the social network.
The two groups said Friday that the deal is an extension from a previous partnership last year in which Facebook streamed 20 baseball games. Facebook (FB) and MLB declined to comment on how much the new deal was worth, but Bloomberg News reported its value between $30 million to $35 million.
Unlike last year’s deal in which both Facebook and regional television broadcasters showed the same Friday night baseball games, the new deal only allows Facebook to stream the games through its Facebook Watch video service. This also means that people who subscribe to the league’s online streaming service MLB.tv will have to watch the 25 baseball games on Facebook, a spokesperson for the social network said.
Last year’s deal also let Facebook stream Friday night baseball games, a typically popular time for people to watch the sport. The new deal includes only afternoon weekday games, which while a less popular time, suits people who want to watch while at work.
While the new deal is exclusive to Facebook in the U.S., some of the 25 baseball games will also air on television broadcasters in other countries, the spokesperson said.
MLB will produce each broadcast and create undetermined interactive features using the free Facebook Watch streaming service, the spokesperson said. Presumably, these features would include some variation of live chatting or a way for viewers to comment with each other or producers during the game.
Additionally, the MLB will produce highlight shows, weekly recaps of the league’s 30 baseball teams, and other special productions that will broadcast on Facebook.
“This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world,” MLB deputy commissioner of business and media Tony Petitti said in a statement. “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.”
Facebook’s MLB deal underscores the fiercely competitive market of technology companies like Google (GOOG), Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Twitter debuting streaming video services that include shows and sporting events traditionally shown on broadcasting and cable networks. More people are switching to watching video and shows on the Internet rather than traditional cable networks.
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On Thursday, the Google-owned YouTube TV live streaming television service said it would now include the MLB live television channel as part of its TV package, which costs $40 a month.
The following are the four baseball games that will air on Facebook in April. MLB will reveal more games each month.
Wednesday, April 4: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m., ET
Wednesday, April 11: Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:15 p.m., ET
Wednesday, April 18: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m., ET
Thursday, April 26: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m., ET