Face­book to stream 25 MLB games in ex­clu­sive deal

Sun.Star Baguio - - PRIME SPORTS -

NEW YORK — Face­book is get­ting deeper into the pro­fes­sional sports stream­ing game, part­ner­ing with Ma­jor League Base­ball to air 25 week­day af­ter­noon games in an ex­clu­sive deal.

The games will be avail­able to Face­book users in the U.S. on Face­book Watch, the com­pany’s video fea­ture an­nounced last Au­gust, via the MLB Live show page. Face­book said Fri­day that recorded broad­casts also will be avail­able glob­ally, ex­clud­ing se­lect in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

The pack­age, MLB’s first dig­i­tal-only na­tional broad­cast agree­ment, pre­cludes teams from tele­vis­ing those games on their re­gional sports net­works.

Face­book’s selec­tion will come from among the nine games per sea­son teams can lose from their lo­cal tele­casts to na­tional video part­ners, which in­clude Fox and ESPN.

MLB own­ers ap­proved the deal in a tele­phone meet­ing this week. MLB will re­ceive $30 mil­lion to $35 mil­lion, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the agree­ment told The As­so­ci­ated Press. The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the amount was not re­leased.

Face­book, Twit­ter and Ama­zon and other tech com­pa­nies are in a race to ac­quire sports stream­ing rights, which can be lu­cra­tive and po­ten­tially boost user loy­alty. The deal comes at a time when leagues are wor­ry­ing about cord-cut­ters caus­ing a de­crease in view­ers among ca­ble tele­vi­sion net­works.

Ver­i­zon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight bas­ket­ball games on Ya­hoo, and Ama­zon paid $50 mil­lion to stream NFL games to Prime mem­bers last sea­son.

Face­book had a pack­age of 20 nonex­clu­sive Fri­day night games last year that be­gan in mid-May and used broad­cast feeds from the par­tic­i­pat­ing teams.

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