Facebook has signed an exclusive deal with Major League Baseball to live stream 25 afternoon games on its platform.
Twitter and Facebook have been working hard on bringing live sports to their platforms, with both reaching deals with major sports leagues to do so. In a move that reminds us of Twitter’s 2016 deal with the NFL to live stream Thursday Night Football games on its platform, Facebook has now reached an agreement with MLB to live stream 25 afternoon games in the US, starting April 4. Facebook also has the rights to show the games around the world, but they won’t be exclusive to the platform outside the US.
The deal marks the first of its kind – with a major sports league agreeing to show its regular season games exclusively on the social network. There is no concrete information as to how much the deal cost Facebook, but sources put its value at between $30 million and $35 million, with MLB owners approving terms unanimously. Industry insiders have called this kind of deal “part of the next great leap” in the migration from one medium to another, and they could be right.
Facebook has been growing its live sports lineup a lot recently. Last year, it secured a deal with Fox Sports to stream the UEFA Champions League, and another with Univision to broadcast Mexico’s top soccer league games live. This is also not the first deal with the MLB – albeit it exclusive this time. Facebook streamed 20 MLB games last season. Finally, it also got the rights to stream 47 college basketball games this year.
The weekday afternoon games that Facebook is streaming exclusively begin with one between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets on April 4. The games can be viewed on all devices and will have a “broadcast look and feel” as they will be produced by the MLB Network. Apart from the live streaming, Facebook will be providing social integration and other enhancements to the games.