Tag Archives: MLB

Facebook and MLB partner to bring live-streamed games to the social network

Facebook and the MLB announced today a new live-streaming partnership that will bring 20 live, regular season games to the social network. The games will air weekly on Facebook, with the first — Rockies at Reds — showing tomorrow night at 7:10 PM ET on the official MLB Facebook Page. Additional games and times will be announced later.

The weekly broadcasts on Facebook will come from a feed of a participating team’s local broadcaster rightsholder, the companies said.

“It’s really important for us in terms of experimenting with a new partner in this area… we’re really excited about this new partnership,” noted Commissioner Rob Manfred when announcing the organization’s plans to live stream games on Friday nights, without blackouts.

This is not the first time the MLB has leveraged Facebook for streaming its games, however. The organization has been fairly forward-thinking in this area in the past. For example, in 2011 — before the launch of Facebook Live — MLB aired some of its spring training games live on Facebook by embedding its MLB.tv player into its Facebook Page.

Since the launch of Facebook Live, the MLB has used the platform to live stream news and analysis from around the league, as with its Facebook airing of “12:25 Live with Alexa,” where it also incorporates fan comments and questions into its programming.

It has also live streamed special league ceremonies, behind-the-scenes footage with players and teams and other live shows. It also went live for last season’s World Series for pre-game and post-game press conferences and other events.



The new streaming deal will expand beyond these earlier efforts to actually stream live games to Facebook users — broadening access to games beyond their local markets. However, the games will only live stream to users in the U.S., the MLB noted, not baseball fans worldwide.

“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,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships, 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.”


Facebook and MLB partner to bring live-streamed games to the social network


MLB is pushing to stream games on Facebook

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.