Facebook gets exclusive rights to stream 25 MLB games

The deal comes as the social network has been beefing up its sports and original content catalog.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read
New York Mets v Washington Nationals

The first game streamed on Facebook will be between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

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Facebook wants baseball fans to turn off their TVs and instead log on to its social network.

The company said Friday it signed a deal with Major League Baseball to exclusively stream 25 games this season on Facebook. It's the first time the social network has gotten access to games from a major sports league that won't be shown on TV or anywhere else. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Facebook will broadcast one game a week. They will all be afternoon games, and the first matchup will be on April 4 between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. It will be available on Facebook Watch, a section of the social network focused on original programming. Other shows on Watch include "Ball in the Family," a show about basketball dad Lavar Ball, and "Humans of New York," a documentary version of the popular Facebook page that highlights photos of everyday New Yorkers.

"Community and conversation are central to both baseball and Facebook," Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships, said in a statement. "MLB Network's innovative broadcasts will bring these interactive and social elements of the game to life to fans around the world."

In addition to the games, Facebook will also get highlight packages and weekly recaps from each of the MLB's 30 teams. This isn't the first time Facebook has worked with the MLB. Last season, Facebook streamed 20 games, though they weren't exclusive to the social network.

Over the past few years, Facebook has tried to beef up its catalog of sports content. The social network has also broadcast professional soccer and cricket games. Facebook previously bid for the rights to NFL games -- Amazon won that deal last year -- but the social network is not making a bid again this year. 

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