Facebook Strikes Deal with MLB for Exclusivity on 25 Live Games

Deal marks the first time a major U.S. sports league has designated games as social media exclusive

Major League Baseball announced Friday morning that it has expanded its relationship with Facebook. The social media giant will have the exclusive national rights to distribute 25 games this upcoming season (one per week). It marks the first time that a major U.S. 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 produced by the team at MLB Network.

“[This partnership] is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week,” Tony Petitti, MLB’s Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media said in an official release.

While the league didn’t specify exact details, it did say that MLB Network and Facebook will look to “debut a variety of presentation and interactivity innovations” on the productions in this package.

All 25 games will be weekday afternoon tilts (mostly Wednesdays) as MLB and Facebook seemingly look to engage with many Americans during work hours. The first game will be on April 4 when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the New York Mets.

Games will be available to watch on the MLB Live Facebook page. No financial terms were disclosed by either party.

The news comes just days after the league expanded its partnership with YouTube TV that brings MLB Network to the streaming platform and makes it the presenting sponsor on the next two World Series.

This also isn’t the first deal of its kind for Facebook as the platform regularly streams UEFA Champions League matches through a current partnership with Fox Sports.

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