Major League Baseball strikes exclusive streaming deal with Facebook

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

Facebook Watch will broadcast a total of 25 games this year, mostly on Wednesday afternoons, as part of MLB's first digital-only broadcasts.

The games will be exclusive to Facebook Watch and will be distributed globally through the MLB Live show page. The first Facebook-streamed game will feature our own Mets playing the the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on Wednesday, April 4. That is expected to generate innovation around the game's broadcast presentation with interactive elements and production value geared specifically geared toward Facebook's platform.

The partnership marks the first time a major US sports league has ceded exclusive broadcast rights to Facebook, which has made a push in recent years to acquire sports content to stream on its platform.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"MLB has been a great long-term partner and we are excited to renew our World Series partnership as well as play a role in games throughout the season with the inaugural first pitch sponsorship, bringing more ways for fans to enjoy their favourite teams cable-free with YouTube TV".

Major League Baseball and YouTube, which is owned by Google, first reached a deal ahead of last year's playoffs that made the company the World Series' presenting sponsor. YouTube TV, an over-the-top service launched past year, also will carry the streaming service, available to consumers for an added fee.

Here is April's schedule, subject to change (all times ET).

The schedule for the rest of the season has not yet been released. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Thursday, April 26: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m.

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. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the United States, as well as its global audience of baseball fans. Major League Baseball also has leveraged Facebook Live since it launched for a variety of means to interact with fans and take them behind the scenes to connect with their favorite teams and players.

  • Gwendolyn Kim