Facebook Nabs MLB Exclusive Global Rights to 25 Games

YouTube and MLB expand partnership

Facebook Inc said it has signed a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) to stream 25 games this season on the social network.

It is also the latest salvo in a battle between Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo to add more sports content to their online offerings.

Facebook had tied up with MLB past year to show 20 of the league's games live.

The games will be available to Facebook users in the US on Facebook Watch, the company's video feature announced last August, via the MLB Live show page.

The games will be produced by the MLB Network, meaning they'll have a broadcast look and feel.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world", MLB deputy commissioner Tony Petitti said in a statement. "It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week".

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As part of the new deal, MLB will produce and distribute on Facebook Watch on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as MLB club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 MLB teams. Fans will be able to watch games on their mobile and desktop devices that have been designed for more immersive viewing, sharing and interacting consistent with the social media platform.

The agreement begins with the April 4 game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. For Facebook, however, the rights allow for experimentation with things like social integration and graphics during the broadcast, enhancements popular with younger viewers drawn to digital platforms.

Major League Baseball and Facebook reached an agreement to stream games on the social media site season, starting with Mets-Phillies on April 4.

Facebook continues to grow its live sports streaming portfolio, which includes also Champions League soccer.

In 2015, the National Football League gave Yahoo the rights to stream a London regular season game for $15 million.

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