Major League Baseball strikes exclusive streaming deal with Facebook

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Facebook is officially the first social network to have exclusive rights to stream games from a USA professional league.

Soshnick noted it is the first time one of the major United States sports leagues gave exclusive broadcasting rights for games to a social network.

Facebook Watch and the MLB Live show Page will debut on Wednesday, April 4, with the Phillies visiting the Mets at 1:10 p.m. EST.

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Last season, Major League Baseball and Facebook partnered to live stream 20 games weekly on Friday nights as national simulcasts. Soshnick noted the games will primarily be on Wednesdays, starting with the April 4 contest between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

The two groups said Friday that the deal is an extension from a previous partnership a year ago in which Facebook streamed 20 baseball games. And it might mark the first inning of what could be a seismic shift for sports from its historic home on TV to digital over the next few years as more rights come due.

Hours after the Facebook deal was announced, Twitter announced its own plans for a three-year with Major League Soccer to stream two dozen live matches as well as highlights.

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Last year's deal also let Facebook stream Friday night baseball games, a typically popular time for people to watch the sport. All of them will be weekday afternoon games.

Wednesday, April 11: Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:15 p.m.

It's also worth noting this is one of the few instances of a digital player taking valuable content away from traditional TV - in this case, games from a major US sports league. The games will also include "in-game production elements specially designed for intuitively watching, sharing and interacting on Facebook", according to a statement from Major League Baseball. It's also unclear who will handle broadcast duties for the weekly games. Critically, the games weren't exclusive to the social network meaning you could also watch them via other sources.

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Thursday, April 26: Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 1:05 p.m. While the company passed on bidding for the streaming rights to NFL's Thursday Night Football package earlier this year, the deal with Major League Baseball proves that the company will play ball at the right price.