Now Facebook trumps Twitter with domestic MLB streaming rights
Facebook, the social media giant, is to stream one game per week from baseball’s MLB to viewers across the whole of USA after striking a deal with the North American league.
Facebook, which already has streaming deals in place with soccer’s MLS and Liga MX, is to stream 20 weekly Friday night games throughout the remainder of this MLB season, beginning with tonight’s match between Cincinnati Reds and the Colorado Rockies.
Facebook will stream the television feeds from the participating team’s local broadcaster.
The once-per-week live streams will be available free to Facebook users in USA via the MLB Facebook page.
Dan Reed, Facebook head of global sports partnerships, commented: “Baseball games are uniquely engaging community experiences, as the chatter and rituals in the stands are often as meaningful to fans as the action on the diamond. By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale.”
The nationwide deal, which was first mooted in February, goes one better than Facebook’s rival Twitter, which signed a deal with the MLB in which it can stream out-of-market Friday night games this season, subject to local viewing restrictions.
It is the first time that Facebook has live-streamed regular-season MLB games on its platform, having aired some spring training games in 2011.
Facebook adds MLB to its growing portfolio of live streaming deals, which includes Spanish soccer’s LaLiga, Major League Lacrosse, cricket’s Caribbean Premier League and snooker’s World Championship.
Meanwhile, Scott Eblen, Twitter’s director of product, yesterday revealed some additional audience data related to the platform’s live streaming of Thursday night American football games last season.
Twitter paid $10 million to stream 10 NFL Thursday night football games also shown on national networks CBS and NBC during the 2016 regular season.
Eblen told the Connected TV World Summit in London that 55 per cent of the games’ viewers were under 25, 25 per cent were watching it from outside the USA and 12 per cent were accessing the game as non-Twitter users.
In addition, Eblem said Twitter had broadcast over 800 hours of live video so far this year.
Last month, Twitter lost out to Amazon in an auction for the live streaming rights to next season's NFL Thursday night games.
Amazon is understood to be paying $50 million for the same package of games in 2017.
Twitter has tie-ups in place with basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, as well as a content deal with the NFL.