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

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Facebook and Major League Baseball announced on Friday that the social media giant will exclusively stream 25 MLB games this season.

"Much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you're reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap", Lee Berke, an industry consultant, told Bloomberg.

The games add to Facebook's growing sports lineup.

Last season Facebook live streamed 20 Major League Baseball games, but it was part of a national simulcast of a team's local television broadcast. It also plans to stream 47 upcoming USA college basketball games from smaller conferences. Facebook's ad revenue a year ago totaled $40 billion.

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The entire deal will feature 25 games, beginning with the Philadelphia Phillies visiting the New York Mets, on April 4, at 1:10 p.m. EDT.

The report states that all of the games will take place on weekday afternoons, with most coming on Wednesdays. Viewers will be able to watch on smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected devices, including home TVs.

MLB Network will produce the games, "meaning they'll have a broadcast look and feel". It has been doing that since May a year ago but Facebook didn't have the exclusive rights back then that it has been awarded now. Major League Baseball will also produce and distribute specially curated content, such as on-demand highlight packages and weekly recap packages for the 30 Major League Baseball teams. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the US and around the world.

It is also the latest instance of Silicon Valley's biggest names getting involved with America's favorite sports leagues. Given that Amazon has already paid $50 million to streaming Thursday night National Football League games a year ago, the MLB arrangement might be investing in a market that Facebook is already in.

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