Facebook obtains exclusive rights to stream 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The move marks the first time that one of the major U.S. professional sports leagues has agreed to have regular season games distributed only on Facebook.

The broadcast will begin in April with a game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, April 4.

"Much like the migration of sports from broadcast to cable, you're reaching these milestones where the combination of the financial incentive and the audience allow you to make the next great leap", said Lee Berke, an industry consultant. Last year, the company struck deals with Fox Sports to stream the UEFA Champions League and with Univision to broadcast live games from Mexico's top soccer league. All of the games that will stream exclusively on Facebook will take place in the afternoon and will be produced by the Major League Baseball so the viewing experience will be what fans are already familiar with.

According to financial news outlet Bloomberg, Facebook will use the MLB Network feed, but will be permitted to integrate its own graphics and other enhancements aimed at drawing in its younger viewers.

Facebook and the Major League Baseball have reached an agreement that will allow the social media giant to stream 25 weekly games starting in 2018.

Last year, Facebook streamed 20 Major League Baseball games - one local TV broadcast each Friday night during the regular season.

It is also the latest salvo in a battle between Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo to add more sports content to their online offerings. These 25 games will be distributed via Facebook Watch as part of MLB Live show Page, making this the MLB's first digital-only distribution.

This is not the first time that Facebook has gotten involved in sports-related content. It previously simulcast Friday night games on Facebook last season.

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