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Baseball: Facebook to exclusively stream 25 MLB games a year

2 min

Washington (AFP)

Facebook and Major League Baseball announced on Friday that the social media giant will exclusively stream 25 MLB games this season.

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

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

Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo have been streaming some National Football League (NFL) games and Facebook live-streamed 20 MLB games last season, but they were simulcasts of local television broadcasts.

Facebook and MLB said that one game a week -- mostly weekday afternoon games -- will be shown on Facebook Watch via the MLB Live show page. MLB Network, the league's television arm, will produce the games.

"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," Petitti said.

MLB said all 30 club owners had agreed to the deal with Facebook. Financial terms were not released.

"We're excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season," said Dan Reed, Facebook head of global sports partnerships.

The first game on Facebook Watch will be a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday, April 4.

MLB said the games on Facebook Watch will be the league's first digital-only national broadcasts.

The games will not be available in certain "select international markets," but Facebook and MLB did not identify which ones.

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