In Your Face (Book): MLB Deal Brings Games To Second Social Media Platform
Friday, May 19, 2017 at 02:55PM in Facebook, MLB, MLB, live-stream, sports marketing, sports media, twitter

By Barry Janoff

May 18, 2017: A deal that has been in the discussion stage for months comes to fruition Friday night when Facebook live-streams the first of 20 MLB games this season under a new alliance unveiled today.

Facebook joins Twitter as a live-stream MLB partner.

“(This is) probably the most important single announcement (to come out of the owners’ meeting): We’ve done an agreement with Facebook that will allow Facebook to do a national game on Friday nights without blackouts," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said during a media conference on Thursday in New York.

"This is really important for us in terms of experimenting with a new partner in this area."

The first game under the pact will see the Colorado Rockies at the Cincinnati Reds (7 PM ET).

MLB said the Facebook deal is not exclusive, meaning each game would feature the feed from the respective home team's local broadcast rights holder.

The remaining 19 games will be unveiled as the logistics for local-network share are finalized.

"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," Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships, said in a statement.

"By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale," he said.

Facebook said it has an estimated 182 million daily active users in the United States and Canada.

Twitter is in its second season of live-streaming MLB games.

Manfred said the Facebook deal entails "moving live-stream games on Twitter from Friday to Tuesday."

"We are really excited about this new partnership," said Manfred.

The alliance comes as more leagues are delving into live-stream and supporting activation on social media platforms.

Amazon Prime this coming NFL season will air ten Thursday Night Football games broadcast by NBC and CBS, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network, which Twitter did last season.

Twitter signed a new deal with the NFL for the upcoming season to include live pre-game shows, news, analysis and other live game-day activation.

"By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale."

The Facebook partnership follows several other key deals done by MLB this season, including naming Coca-Cola as the league’s official soft drink (replacing Pepsi), naming Nathan’s Famous as its official hot dog and Old Dominion as its official freight carrier.

In addtion, Under Armour was signed as the exclusive provider of all on-field uniform components, initially set to begin in 2020 but now rescheduled for the 2019 season.

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