Hot on the heels of announcing an enhanced co-operation with YouTube, Major League Baseball and Facebook have unveiled a newly expanded partnership for the 2018 MLB season, highlighted by what they describe as an historic agreement to produce and broadcast one game every week to a global audience on Facebook.
This 25-game package of weekly broadcasts will be distributed exclusively on Facebook Watch in the United States via the MLB Live show Page – marking MLB’s first digital-only national broadcasts. Every game also will be available globally on the show Page, excluding select international markets. The announcement was made after the 30 Major League Clubs unanimously approved the deal.
“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, Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media for Major League Baseball. “It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week.”
Produced by MLB Network and its production team specifically for Facebook Watch across its supported devices, including mobile phones and connected televisions, this package of weekday afternoon games will debut a variety of presentation and interactivity innovations. MLB Network will introduce new in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook. Details on broadcast talent and social integrations will be announced at a later date.
“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season,” declared Dan Reed, Facebook Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “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.”
The first scheduled Facebook Watch broadcast this season is a matinee matchup between National League East rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, live from Citi Field on Wednesday, April 4, at 1:10 p.m. (ET). Fans may add this game and every weekly broadcast on Facebook Watch to their Watchlists by following the MLB Live show Page.
MLB also will produce and distribute specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast, including on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as Club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 MLB teams. These will be available on Facebook Watch in the United States and to baseball fans around the world.
In May 2017, MLB and Facebook partnered to live stream 20 games during the 2017 regular season with those airing weekly on Friday nights as national simulcasts of a participating team’s local television broadcast. MLB also has leveraged Facebook Live since it launched for a variety of means to interact with fans and take them behind the scenes to connect with their favourite teams and players.
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