Facebook Strikes Deal to Stream MLB Games


Facebook Strikes Deal to Stream MLB Games

Major League Baseball will stream an afternoon weekday game exclusively on Facebook Live each week during the 2018 season, the league announced Friday.

The games will be available for free through Facebook's Watch tab in News Feeds.

The partnership will begin on April 4 with a match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. Games will also include in-game elements created for watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook, and the deal features on-demand highlight packages and recaps for each team. There is no concrete information as to how much the deal cost Facebook, but sources put its value at between $30 million and $35 million, with Major League Baseball owners approving terms unanimously. These 25 games will be distributed via Facebook Watch as part of MLB Live show Page, making this the MLB's first digital-only distribution.

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

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The dueling announcements highlight the emerging arms race in the tech industry to lure users with live streaming sports events. Each of the 25 Facebook-exclusive games will be streamed in the afternoon (usually 1PM or 4PM ET), so no, they aren't prime-time games yet, but they will be produced by the Major League Baseball for a look and feel that game fans love.

The new agreement is valued between $30 million to $35 million, according to Bloomberg.

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.

While the new deal is exclusive to Facebook in the US, some of the 25 baseball games will also air on television broadcasters in other countries, the spokesperson said.

This 25-game package of weekly broadcasts will be distributed exclusively on Facebook Watch in the United States via the MLB Live show Page - marking MLB's first digital-only national broadcasts.

Major League Baseball also 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. "It doesn't stop here".