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America’s favorite pastime is headed to Facebook.
The social network has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to live-stream one game each week for the rest of the season.
The deal will give Facebook the rights to stream 20 games in total. The broadcasts will occur every Friday for the remainder of the season, beginning this week with a matchup between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds.
MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. on Thursday announced the deal at a meeting of MLB owners, calling it “probably the most important single announcement” of the event. He added that the deal is “really important for us in terms of experimenting with a new partner in this area.”
Talks between Facebook and MLB were first reported in February. The deal comes as the social network ramps up its efforts to seed its news feed and video tab with highly produced content, both live and programmed. The company also has a deal with Univision to live-stream nearly 50 Mexican soccer matches in English this year.
“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, Facebook 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. We’re thrilled to work with MLB to enable baseball fans on Facebook to watch live games and connect with friends and fellow fans around the action, no matter where they live in the U.S., and are excited to help the league continue to reach new audiences on our platform.”
MLB is not new to Facebook video. It has been a frequent live broadcaster on the platform, offering up news and analysis, streams of events like the ceremony for the retirement of Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and behind-the-scenes tours of team clubhouses.
Facebook’s MLB live streams, which will come from the local broadcast rightsholders, will be available every Friday from the MLB Facebook page. The Rockies at Reds matchup will begin streaming live this Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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