Facebook to exclusively stream 25 MLB games a year


Facebook will exclusively broadcast 25 Major League Baseball games on afternoons throughout the 2018 season as part of a new streaming partnership, the organizations announced on Friday.

The fight to be the streaming destination for sports fans is heating up and Facebook just took a huge step forward in upping its game. The games will also be available globally on the show page, excluding select global markets.

The games will be available to Facebook users in the US on Facebook Watch, the company's video feature announced last August, via the MLB Live show page.

"Much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you're reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap", Lee Berke, a sports media consultant, told Bloomberg.

The mobile-first package of weekday afternoon games, they said "will debut a variety of presentation and interactivity innovations". Neither Facebook nor Major League Baseball disclosed the terms of the agreement, but Bloomberg reported the deal was priced at between $30 million to $35 million.

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The soon-to-be streamed baseball games add to Facebook's growing line of live sports programming.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", Tony Petitti, MLB's deputy commissioner of business and media, said in a statement.

MLB said the games on Facebook Watch will be the league's first digital-only national broadcasts.

YouTube TV is also adding MLB Network to its channel line-up, and soon will add the MLB.tv streaming service in the United States, for an additional fee. MLB Network, the league's television arm, will produce the games.

Earlier this year, Facebook opted against bidding for the National Football League's Thursday Night package, which Amazon.com Inc. carried last season. Aside from Facebook, numerous newly introduced OTT TV services - like Fubo, Hulu TV, and Sling TV- offer live sports, albeit not exclusively.