Facebook Steps Up To Plate With MLB Streaming Deal

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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.

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

Facebook has once again struck a deal to air Major League Baseball games on its platform.

The new agreement, which Bloomberg reports is valued at around $30-$35 million, is a significant increase in investment from previous year, which saw Facebook simulcast 20 local Major League Baseball games on Friday nights. "This is part of the next great leap". In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv, the longest running sports streaming service in the United States, for an additional fee.

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The first game on Facebook this season will be an April 4 afternoon game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. 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.

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

The games that will be broadcast on Facebook will all be afternoon games, primarily on Wednesdays.

The games will be available across devices including mobile phones and connected TVs and will offer viewers some interactivity options. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the US and around the world.

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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.

Regardless of the success of platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and Amazon in snatching the Thursday Night Football deal away from Twitter last year) getting these games on their platforms, the big primetime moments still elude those platforms and are all but locked up by incumbents.

The games will be exclusive to Facebook Watch and will be distributed globally through the MLB Live show page. 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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