The biggest job of the league’s front office is to make sure that the game of baseball, and Major League Baseball specifically, continues to grow and remain popular as new generations grow old. In the eyes of many, they are losing younger generations right now and they’re focusing on trying to get them back. Obviously, commissioner Rob Manfred has been gung-ho about pace of play. Improvements in that area aren’t the only way to reach a new audience, though. MLB seems to also realize they need to join the 21st century, and according to reports they are pushing for a deal with Facebook for the tech giant to stream one game per week.
While the deal is not yet complete, the reports indicate they are deep in the conversations. This alone wouldn’t create a new generation of baseball fans, of course, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It’s no secret that younger people are watching less and less TV and are utilizing more streaming options. Being able to attract to cord-cutters on the biggest social media platform in the world certainly couldn’t hurt. This, in addition to the fact that most media markets should be close to in-market streaming deals, shows that MLB is finally starting to get it.
As for Facebook, the deal makes sense for them. Social media platforms have been trying to get into the sports game for the last few years, since it’s clearly the last vestige of live television. We saw Twitter have success with Thursday Night Football last year, and Facebook is an even larger platform. It’s unclear at this time what kind of game they would be getting in a deal with MLB, but it would be a nice start for them as their first deal with a major league. MLB still has work to do in marketing to young people — like changing their social media rules around sharing highlights and figuring out how to market their stars — but this potential partnership with Facebook is a nice start.