Facebook, MLB agree to deal to live-stream regular season games

Clayton Kershaw Dodgers

Last year, Major League Baseball and YouTube TV signed a marketing partnership in which the Major League Baseball promoted YouTube TV during the 2017 World Series, which YouTube TV subscribers could watch via the Fox broadcasting network.

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

But this deal certainly pushes things forward by offering the social media platform, which as of the fourth quarter of 2017 had 2.2 billion active users globally, exclusive rights to air games.

The new agreement, which Bloomberg reports is valued at around $30-$35 million, is a significant increase in investment from a year ago, which saw Facebook simulcast 20 local Major League Baseball games on Friday nights.

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MLB Network plans to introduce in-game production elements specially designed for watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook.

Some will say that Facebook isn't the greatest spot to attract younger viewers. But they're also the MLB's first digital-only broadcasts, and every team is on board: All 30 major league clubs unanimously approved the deal.

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 remaining monthly schedule of live broadcasts will be announced during the season, during which the D-backs will play 16 weekday matinee games. Games will be streamed on smartphones, tablets, computers and "other connected devices, including home TVs", notes Bloomberg. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m. Scheduled first is Phillies at Mets on April 4, followed by Brewers at Cardinals on April 11, Royals at Blue Jays on April 18 and Diamondbacks at Phillies on April 26.

Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo have been streaming some National Football League (NFL) games and Facebook live-streamed 20 MLB games last season, but they were simulcasts of local television broadcasts. It's also unclear who will handle broadcast duties for the weekly games.

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