Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Kristin Zimmerman

Facebook gets exclusives rights to 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Facebook gets exclusives rights to 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Facebook's Major League Baseball deal underscores the fiercely competitive market of technology companies like Google goog , Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Twitter debuting streaming video services that include shows and sporting events traditionally shown on broadcasting and cable networks.

"It 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", said Tony Petitti, the league's deputy commissioner of business and media, in a statement.

Facebook offered $600 million for the rights to an Indian cricket league, losing out to Fox, and has been boosting its budget for content, including live sports and original shows.

"We're excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season", said Facebook's Dan Reed. They would not share financial terms, but sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg it was in the ballpark of $30 million to $35 million.

Hours after the Facebook deal was announced, Twitter announced its own plans for a three-year with Major League Soccer to stream two dozen live matches as well as highlights.

The first game on Facebook Watch will be a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday, April 4.

MLB Network would produce the game on behalf of Facebook and also distribute specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast. At this point, we don't know how much the deal cost Facebook. Tech companies are willing to spend tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars on this effort.

Last year's deal also let Facebook stream Friday night baseball games, a typically popular time for people to watch the sport. MLB Network, the league's television arm, will produce the games.

Earlier this year, Facebook opted against bidding for the National Football League's Thursday Night package, which Amazon.com Inc. carried last season. "It doesn't stop here".

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