Facebook Snags National Rights To Weekday MLB Games

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

Facebook to exclusively stream 25 MLB games this season, starting with Mets-Phillies

In addition, YouTube TV will have a presence during the first pitches of games broadcast on its Major League Baseball properties, and the service will incorporate players in a variety of promotional campaigns.

The broadcasts will be produced by MLB Network for Facebook but will include social features that are specific to the platform.

It's the first time a major USA sports league has given Facebook exclusivity.

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In addition, Major League Baseball has set up the production and distribution of 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. Financial terms were not released.

The games add to Facebook's growing sports lineup. The first game will be a matchup between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on April 4 at 1:10 p.m.

As fans increasingly watch games online, social media companies have increased their focus on signing live-streaming sports deals. In addition to its previous Major League Baseball deal, the social network has also struck deals to stream Mexican soccer and college basketball.

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The games that will be broadcast on Facebook will all be afternoon games, primarily on Wednesdays. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the US and around the world. The streamed matchups can be watched on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, computers, as well as connected devices and smart TVs.

The MLB Network is handling the games' production and will debut a new graphics package "designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook". Amazon paid $50 million last season to broadcast 11 games from the NFL's "Thursday Night Football" series. "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". The integrated marketing campaign's success throughout October 2017 led YouTube and Major League Baseball to extend and broaden the World Series partnership for an additional two years.

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