Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

All of the games will be on weekday afternoons, which are not exactly prime viewing hours for TV, but also do not conflict with the league's prime-time national games or weekend games.

Also as part of the deal, the league will produce curated content for Facebook Watch, like on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game, as well as team-specific recaps.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our clubs to connect with people around the world", said Tony Petitti, deputy commissioner of business and media for MLB.

Last season, Major League Baseball and Facebook partnered to live stream 20 games weekly on Friday nights as national simulcasts.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The games add to Facebook's growing sports lineup. It'll consist of a 25-game package distributed exclusively on Facebook Watch in the United States via the MLB Live show Page.

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YouTube TV is also adding MLB Network to its channel line-up, and soon will add the streaming service in the U.S., for an additional fee.

Bonus: if the usual Facebook behavior of your weird uncle, your childhood friend and that woman you knew ten years ago, friended on Facebook and then "liked" every comment she made as a means of trying to recapture that time when you should've made your move but were to afraid to do so are any indication, the comments should be entertaining even if the games aren't. Viewers will be able to watch on smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected devices, including home TVs.

The first game to air will reportedly be an April 4th matchup between the Mets and Phillies, (feel. the. excitement!). That is expected to generate innovation around the game's broadcast presentation with interactive elements and production value geared specifically geared toward Facebook's platform.

Games broadcast on Facebook will also provide users with the flexibility to watch on any screen. Amazon paid $50 million last season to broadcast 11 games from the NFL's "Thursday Night Football" series. Facebook had bid the previous two years.

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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