Facebook to air 25 Major League Baseball games in exclusive streaming deal

Reuters

The league has yet to announce which broadcasters will announce the games. Critically, the games weren't exclusive to the social network meaning you could also watch them via other sources.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", Tony Petitti, Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media for MLB, said in a statement.

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 disclosed. Deals like this are part of that next great leap, Berke added.

The extended partnership also offers expanded baseball coverage to all YouTube TV members with the addition of the MLB Network to its channel lineup starting immediately.

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

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While Facebook's streaming rights are exclusive only to the United States, the social network will also have the rights to broadcast the games globally, giving viewers outside of the U.S.an alternative way to watch games.

And production by the MLB Network will mean a polished presentation out of the box, but with Facebook able to experiment with social integration and graphics in the broadcast.

The partnership will begin on April 4 with a match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

Earlier this year, Facebook opted against bidding for the National Football League's Thursday Night package, which Amazon.com Inc. carried last season. The company did acquire the rights to NFL recaps and highlights, giving the league a way to reach fans on the social media service.

It's interesting news, not necessarily because the games are going to draw massive audiences (they likely won't), but because it's a sign that major sports leagues are getting more comfortable with their games appearing online - and only online - versus with traditional TV partners.

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