Facebook inks first major sports exclusive with MLB

Alonzo Simpson
March 11, 2018

In addition to desktop and television, the games will be available across all Facebook Watch platforms, including smartphones and other mobile devices. It's not like Facebook hasn't streamed Major League Baseball games before.

The weekly broadcasts will be shown exclusively on Facebook Watch in the US via the MLB Live show page.

In a continuing effort to become a one stop shop for virtually everything, Facebook has signed an exclusive deal with Major League Baseball to stream 25 afternoon games during the 2018 season, according to Bloomberg. The company started livestreaming games back in May 2017, but this is the first time a U.S. major league has granted a social network sole rights to broadcast games.

The deal, approved unanimously by Major League Baseball team owners, according to reports, marks the first sports exclusive for Facebook.

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The deal is worth between $30 million and $35 million according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news.

The partnership - which begins on April 4 with a matchup between the Mets and Phillies - will see Facebook take on more than two dozen afternoon, weekday games. Fans can add this and upcoming games to their Facebook live watchlist by following the MLB Live Show page. Last year, the company struck deals with Fox Sports to stream the UEFA Champions League and with Univision to broadcast live games from Mexico's top soccer league.

The games will be produced by the MLB Network, meaning they'll have a broadcast look and feel. Given that Amazon has already paid $50 million to streaming Thursday night National Football League games a year ago, the MLB arrangement might be investing in a market that Facebook is already in.

It is also the latest instance of Silicon Valley's biggest names getting involved with America's favorite sports leagues.

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