What: Facebook has signed an exclusivity deal with MLB to stream 25 matches on the social network.
Why it matters: This is the first time a U.S. major league has granted a social network exclusive rights to broadcast games.
In a never-before-seen move, Major League Baseball has given Facebook exclusive streaming rights to 25 games this season. Any baseball fan who wishes to watch those games on mobile, desktop, or TV, will need to log into Facebook to do so.
The games will be available for free through Facebook’s Watch tab in News Feeds. Facebook Watch is the site’s video hub for original and live content. The partnership will start on April 4, with the Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Mets match. The deal consists of weekday afternoon games, mostly on Wednesdays. International audiences can watch the games directly on MLB’s Facebook page.
“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,” said Tony Petitti, the league’s deputy commissioner of business and media, in a statement.
“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season,” said Dan Reed, Facebook Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “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.”
MLB will also 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 MLB teams. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the United States and to baseball fans around the world.[Featured image: MLB Facebook page]