Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Facebook Watch Will Exclusively Air 25 Weekday MLB Games In 2018

The Mets will share the first Facebook Watch-aired MLB game with the Phillies on April 4 The Mets will share the first Facebook Watch-aired MLB game with the Phillies on April 4
Kenneth Drake | 10 March, 2018, 01:49

Last season, Facebook livestreamed 20 Friday games as a simulcast with the teams' local television broadcasts.

YouTube on Thursday announced a new multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball that will add the MLB Network and MLB.tv to its YouTube TV streaming service.

"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.

"The deal is meant to establish skills and resources for Facebook to potentially bid on larger games with the Major League Baseball and other properties", Berke said. Neither MLB nor Facebook disclosed the financial terms, though people with knowledge of the matter put the price at $30 million to $35 million.

"Part of the next great leap, " sports media consultant Lee Berke told Bloomberg. Facebook can also show the games globally though they won't be exclusives outside the U.S. The company also had 20 non-exclusive Major League Baseball games last season and acquired exclusive rights to stream 47 college basketball games involving smaller conferences this year.


All of the games will take place on weekday afternoons, primarily Wednesdays.

The first game on Facebook Watch will be a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday, April 4. Viewers will be able to watch on smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected devices, including home TVs.

Games broadcast on Facebook will also provide users with the flexibility to watch on any screen.

Verizon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight basketball games on Yahoo, and Amazon paid $50 million to stream National Football League games to Prime members last season. The games will also include "in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook", according to a statement from Major League Baseball. Facebook had bid the previous two years. 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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