Facebook is getting exclusive rights to 25 Major League Baseball games

While Facebook has streamed MLB games in the past this is the company’s first exclusive deal and the MLB’s first digital-only national broadcast program. Last year Facebook showed 20 Friday games using broadcast feeds from the participating teams

Facebook expanding deal with Major League Baseball

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

So far, Major League Baseball has announced which games will appear exclusively on Facebook only through April.

YouTube TV will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 World Series, and will also partner with Major League Baseball on a season-long sponsorship. Last season, the league streamed simulcasts of 20 Friday night games on Facebook.

The pact marks the first time that Facebook will exclusively stream competitions from one of the major US sports leagues. This included the first-ever presenting sponsorship of the World Series, television ads that incorporated live footage, six-second spots with current MLB stars on YouTube and TV, exclusive baseball content from YouTube's highly popular creators, and player support across social media. Facebook can also show the games globally though they won't be exclusives outside the U.S.

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The social network reportedly paid between $30 million and $35 million for the rights to the games, which will primarily take place on Wednesday afternoons. 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. Games will begin streaming on the platform on April 4 with a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.

The games will be available across devices including mobile phones and connected TVs and will offer viewers some interactivity options. This established YouTube TV as the presenting sponsor of the championship series, saw it promote its over-the-top TV offering as an alternative to cable for accessing live baseball, and also gave YouTube content creators behind-the-scenes access to the 2017 World Series in a move created to "bridge digital audiences to the World Series".

The new deal will also see YouTube TV expand its baseball offering through the addition of MLB Network, while its members will also be able to watch MLB.tv for an additional fee.

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