March 23, 2018

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

09 March 2018, 08:49 | Brandon Parsons

Facebook to exclusively stream 25 MLB games this season, starting with Mets-Phillies

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

According to Bloomberg, Facebook paid between $30 and $35 million for the rights to air 25 games throughout the Major League Baseball season.

On April 4, the Phillies will face the Mets at Citi Field in the final game of a three-game divisional series.

YouTube and Major League Baseball (MLB) have expanded their partnership with MLB Network joining the YouTube TV channel line-up in the USA for the first time.

Facebook and Major League Baseball are expanding on the live broadcast deal they kicked off past year, promising a 25-game package of weekday MLB contests.

Regardless of the success of platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and Amazon in snatching the Thursday Night Football deal away from Twitter last year) getting these games on their platforms, the big primetime moments still elude those platforms and are all but locked up by incumbents.

Rory McIlroy fails to keep pace with Tiger Woods at Valspar Championship
Woods applauded Mickelson's playoff win at last week's World Golf Championship in Mexico over PGA Championship victor Thomas. That was one shot ahead of South Korea's Kim Meen-whee and Americans Kelly Kraft and Nick Watney.

YouTube TV branding will be visible during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and in a season-long sponsorship arrangement. In addition to exclusive U.S. rights, Facebook will also air games globally but won't have exclusive rights there. The league says each additional monthly broadcast schedule will be announced during the season.

And production by the MLB Network will mean a polished presentation out of the box, but with Facebook able to experiment with social integration and graphics in the broadcast. It's also unclear who will handle broadcast duties for the weekly games.

Angela Courtin, global head of YouTube TV and originals marketing, added: "Our historic partnership with Major League Baseball was a first of its kind". 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.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", MLB deputy commissioner Tony Petitti said in a statement.

The deal will also see Major League Baseball produce highlight packages for every regular season game in 2018 for Facebook Watch, and it will also release weekly video recaps for each team.

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