Facebook to exclusively broadcast 25 Major League Baseball games

Facebook to exclusively broadcast 25 Major League Baseball games

The deal ushers in MLB's first digital-only national broadcasts and according to Bloomberg, it's the first time a major United States league has agreed to show regular season games exclusively on Facebook.

MLB Network would produce the game on behalf of Facebook and also distribute specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast.

Facebook's Major League Baseball deal underscores the fiercely competitive market of technology companies like Google (goog), Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Twitter debuting streaming video services that include shows and sporting events traditionally shown on broadcasting and cable networks. The deal commences with the April 4 game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets starting at 1:10 p.m. ET.

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. In January, Facebook hired Peter Hutton, the former CEO of Discovery-owned TV network Eurosport, to lead the social media company's push for rights to stream live sports worldwide.

This isn't the first deal Facebook has made with the Major League Baseball.

Hours after the Facebook deal was announced, Twitter announced its own plans for a three-year with Major League Soccer to stream two dozen live matches as well as highlights. YouTube TV branding will appear across MLB's digital properties and official social media accounts, as well as in stadiums. Major League Baseball said in a statement that each additional monthly broadcast schedule will be announced during the season, and games are subject to change. There will be one each week, and the Royals-Blue Jays, which is scheduled to start at 3:07 p.m., is among the first four contests to be announced. The partnership marks the league's first digital-only national broadcasts. 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. It's also unclear who will handle broadcast duties for the weekly games. To differentiate the games being streamed on social network, the games will include social integrations that will only be available during Facebook broadcasts.

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