This MLB season, Facebook will get exclusive rights to stream afternoon MLB games, starting with the first game on April 4th between Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company started livestreaming games back in May 2017, but this is the first time a US major league has granted a social network sole rights to broadcast games.
BREAKING: @facebook gets EXCLUSIVE U.S. rights to 25 afternoon @MLB games- mostly Wednesdays beginning w/@Phillies–@Mets on 4/4. First time a major U.S. league has granted social network exclusivity. “Part of the next great leap,'' says consultant @LHB_SportsMedia #sportsbiz
— Scott Soshnick (@soshnick) March 9, 2018
Fans of MLB can watch the games on the MLB Live show page on Facebook Watch. It will be globally available aside from “select international markets,” according to the press release. Each of the 25 Facebook-exclusive games will be streamed in the afternoon (usually 1PM or 4PM ET), so no, they aren’t prime-time games yet, but they will be produced by the MLB for a look and feel that game fans love. Facebook game streaming is also the MLB’s first digital-only broadcasts, and the interesting thing is, all 30 major league teams unanimously approved the deal.
While you’ll be able to watch the games on Facebook Watch and enjoy them, MLB will also provide extra content such as on-demand highlights for every regular season game, and weekly recap highlights for each team. Late last year, sources told Sports Business Journal that Facebook planned to spend ‘a few billion dollars’ on sports streaming deals. Given that Amazon has already paid $50 million to streaming Thursday night NFL games a year ago, the MLB arrangement might be investing in a market that Facebook is already in. At this point, we don’t know how much the deal cost Facebook.