Facebook Takes the MLB Global

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by @todotvnews the 09/03/2018
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The social media giant has become the latest digital entity to make a pass at sports, nabbing the global rights to 25 Major League Baseball games. 

Sports are flocking to the digital arena, and Facebook has been the latest to make a move towards rights acquisitions. The social media giant has just announced a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to exclusively stream 25 games worldwide during the 2018 season.

The deal will kick off on April 4 with the match between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. Other games include Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (April 11), Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (April 18), and Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies (April 26).

In the US, the games will be available on Facebook Watch via the MLB Live show page. Each of the games also will be available globally on the same page, excluding certain international markets where MLB has already sold TV rights.

This is the first time a major sports league in the United States to grant exclusive rights to Facebook. It's also the biggest exclusive deal between a big league and a streaming-video platform.

And although the financial terms weren't disclosed, Bloomberg reports that the social media platform is paying between $30 and $35 million for the exclusive 25-game package.

The deal is the end result of a long collaboration between the MLB and Facebook, which started with the streaming of 20 games on Friday nights as part of a national simulcast of the participating home team's local TV broadcast.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our clubs to connect with people around the world," said Tony Petitti, MLB's deputy commissioner of business and media.

"Community and conversation are central to both baseball and Facebook, and MLB Network’s innovative broadcasts will bring these interactive and social elements of the game to life to fans around the world in new ways on our platform," added on his end Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships.

The news comes as Facebook is set to bring on board Peter Hutton, currently CEO of Eurosport, to lead its efforts to broker worldwide deals for live-streaming sports.

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