YouTube hits a home run with Major League Baseball partnership

10 March, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Wrigley Field in Chicago

In a move that further confirms the shift in how sports leagues are delivering their content to fans, MLB and Facebook have struck a deal under which the social networking platform gets exclusive rights to 25 afternoon games this season, Bloomberg News first reported via Twitter. The first game that will be broadcast on the platform will be a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citi Field in New York on April 4.

Facebook livestreamed 20 Friday night Major League Baseball games last season, but those games were simulcast locally.

According to a release, the games will be shown on Facebook Watch via the MLB Live show page.

Although the games are not the playoffs or the World Series, analyst Lee Berke told CNN it shows Facebook is becoming a major media competitor. Louis on April 11, Kansas City-Toronto on April 18 and Arizona-Philadelphia on April 26. What's different this time around, however, is the fact that Facebook managed to secure exclusive rights to 25 weekday afternoon games. There have been some gripes about how fewer people are watching Thursday Night Football, so it also seems somewhat reminiscent in that respect that Facebook was able to sign a deal for games that are not so critically important outside of the normal primetime games. The games will be produced by MLB Network specifically for Facebook Watch, and will feature interactivity specifically for the platform. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the USA and around the world.

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In addition to the game broadcasts, MLB will also provide Facebook with other baseball-related content that it can stream and broadcast on its platform, including highlight reels from games not streamed on Facebook and team-specific recap videos for every team in the league.

It's the first time a major US league has agreed to show regular season games exclusively on Facebook, which has been building a portfolio of live sports.

Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships, added, "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".

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