MLB, Facebook expand with exclusive games

MLB, Facebook expand with exclusive games

It marks the first time that a major US sports league has granted global exclusivity of any of its live games to a social media platform or digital-native media property.

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

Facebook had tied up with MLB previous year to show 20 of the league's games live.

Major League Baseball and Facebook reached an agreement to stream games on the social media site season, starting with Mets-Phillies on April 4.

The two groups said Friday that the deal is an extension from a previous partnership a year ago in which Facebook streamed 20 baseball games.

YouTube TV launched in April 2017 to provide audiences around the country a new, more flexible way to enjoy their favourite live TV and live sports programming outside of a traditional cable subscription.

All 30 club owners unanimously approved the move, according to Bloomberg.

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Facebook has been gradually been growing out its sports lineup, including deals to stream soccer and college basketball games, but the deal with Major League Baseball serves as a clear sign that the social media giant is ready to kick things up a notch.

Although the games are not the playoffs or the World Series, analyst Lee Berke told CNN it shows Facebook is becoming a major media competitor. This is Major League Baseball's first digital-only national agreement.

Game broadcasts will be produced by MLB Network and will feature a number of digital tools to enhance the viewing experience.

Following is the complete schedule for April (subject to change; all times are Eastern). These will be available on Facebook Watch in the US and around the world.

Wednesday, April 4: Phillies vs. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

The MLB Network is handling the games' production and will debut a new graphics package "designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook". 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. In the future, YouTube TV members will also be able to add MLB.tv, the longest running sports streaming service in the USA, for an additional fee.

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