Facebook To Stream 25 MLB Games Exclusively This Season

New York Mets live on Facebook

Facebook has bought from Major League Baseball the exclusive rights to stream 25 afternoon basketball games on its social network in the USA, writes Bloomberg, citing sources close to the matter.

The first game in the Facebook Watch partnership will be a April 4th 1:10 p.m. (ET) matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. Though the afternoon games aren't prime time viewing, it's a potentially significant win for Facebook, which has been building up a catalog of live sports inventory as the demand for digital sports media content continues to grow. This will include on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. Fans may add this game and every weekly broadcast on Facebook Watch to their Watchlists by following the MLB Live show Page.

The dueling announcements highlight the emerging arms race in the tech industry to lure users with live streaming sports events.

Produced by MLB Network and its production team specifically for Facebook Watch across its supported devices, including mobile phones and connected televisions, this package of weekday afternoon games will debut a variety of presentation and interactivity innovations. They would not share financial terms, but sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg it was in the ballpark of $30 million to $35 million.

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While the new deal is exclusive to Facebook in the USA, some of the 25 baseball games will also air on television broadcasters in other countries, the spokesperson said. But it was beat out by Star India, owned by 21st Century Fox. This also means that people who subscribe to the league's online streaming service MLB.tv will have to watch the 25 baseball games on Facebook, a spokesperson for the social network said.

Facebook's Major League Baseball deal underscores the fiercely competitive market of technology companies like Google goog , Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Twitter debuting streaming video services that include shows and sporting events traditionally shown on broadcasting and cable networks.

Although Facebook opted out of a bidding war for the NFL's Thursday Night Football games, its roster of sports streams has expanded greatly in recent years with soccer, college basketball and now professional baseball. At this point, we don't know how much the deal cost Facebook.

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