Facebook and Major League Baseball have reached a deal that will give the social network exclusive streaming rights to 25 regular season games in 2018. All of those will be weekday afternoon games, so traditional TV networks will maintain their hold on primetime and weekend play. Even so, as Bloomberg notes, this is the first time Facebook has nabbed exclusive streaming rights for regular season games from one of the major US sports leagues. The first Facebook-only game will be on April 4th between the Phillies and Mets.
The viewing experience won’t feel out of the ordinary, as MLB Network will be producing the games. So you’ll get the familiar presentation of televised games — but you’ll be able to watch on mobile, desktop, and on TVs through Facebook’s app. Facebook also has the ability to integrate “social integration and graphics during the broadcast,” according to Bloomberg.
The deal will also see MLB produce highlight packages for every regular season game in 2018 for Facebook Watch, and it will also release weekly video recaps for each team. Facebook and Major League Baseball will update the schedule of to-be-streamed games month. Last year, Facebook streamed 20 MLB games on its platform, but didn’t have any exclusivity on those games. MLB team owners are said to have unanimously approved this latest agreement.