Facebook will live-stream 20 MLB games starting tomorrow

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Facebook may have missed out on streaming the country’s most popular sport, but it has signed a deal to broadcast America’s pastime.

Facebook will broadcast 20 Major League Baseball games during this year’s regular season. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the deal on Thursday during the league’s quarterly Owners Meetings, according to a video of the announcement provided by a Facebook spokesperson. Reuters had reported in February that Facebook and the MLB were in talks about a weekly broadcast deal.

Facebook will air one national MLB game per week on Friday nights, starting with tomorrow night’s matchup between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, according to the spokesperson. Anyone in the US will be able to watch the game through the MLB’s Facebook Page without blackouts.

“We’re thrilled to work with MLB to enable baseball fans on Facebook to watch live games and connect with friends and fellow fans around the action, no matter where they live in the US, and are excited to help the league continue to reach new audiences on our platform,” said Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, Dan Reed, in an emailed statement.

But Facebook won’t be the only social network broadcasting MLB games this season, or even tomorrow night. Twitter signed a similar deal with the league’s video tech arm last year. Though Twitter’s deal is subject to blackout rules, its broadcasts are also scheduled for Friday night, including tomorrow night’s game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. A Twitter spokesperson said that its next two MLB games, including tomorrow night’s, will air on Friday, that the company releases its schedule of weekly games each month and that games and nights of the week are subject to change. But if the night of the week does change, then that’s a switch from Twitter’s announcement in April that its MLB game broadcasts would air on Friday nights.

Unlike Twitter’s MLB streams, for now Facebook will not be selling any ads against its game broadcasts, according to the Facebook spokesperson.

Similar to Twitter’s NFL live-streams last season, Facebook will not be producing its own stream but syndicating a TV broadcast. In the case of the MLB games, Facebook will air the local feed from whoever owns the broadcast rights.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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