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Facebook Gets Exclusive Deal with MLB to Stream 25 Games

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Starting this spring, Facebook is going to start streaming Major League Baseball games.  Well, 25 games to be exact, starting on April 4th in a matchup between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.  This isn’t really news as the platform started live streaming baseball games back in May of 2017, but this will be the first time that a US major league has granted a social network the sole rights to broadcast games.  It’s the exclusivity that makes this such an interesting deal.  Only Facebook is able to stream the content.  If you are an MLB.TV subscriber, you’re out of luck.

You can watch the games on the MLB Live show page on Facebook Watch, which will be available globally, except for some “select international markets”.  Each game will air in the afternoon – 1 or 4 pm, so no prime time games as of yet.  This will also be the MLB’s first digital-only broadcasts.  The good news?  Every team is on board.  All 30 major league clubs have unanimously approved the deal.  This in itself is kind of incredible.  But it speaks to the way that we now consume media.

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I have been saying this for months – we don’t consume media in the same way that we used to.  In the old days, we used to turn the TV on at 1 pm and we would tune into that game.  But we don’t do that anymore.  A lot more people have cut the traditional cable cord, but are still wanting to watch sporting events.  And you can’t blame them.  Let’s say you’re a football fan.  And only a football fan.  You spend a ton of money every month, but you only watch football for what – 3 or 4 months?  That’s college and NFL combined.  It doesn’t seem worth it.  Sure, if you’re a hardcore sports fan then you maybe it’s worth the cost.  But this is also a smart move on Facebook’s part.

In general, we are seeing media being cut up and available a la carte.  And I think for a long time, that’s what we wanted.  But now I think we are moving too far in the opposite direction.  Now everything is being offered a la carte, and in some cases, it’s going to end up costing you a lot of money.  $10 here for Netflix, HBO Go or Amazon Prime, and before you know it, you’re spending just as much as you would on regular cable.  That said, this is a great thing for Facebook.  This will bring more people to the platform (legitimately) and could increase their number of subscriptions.

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For example – I do not have a Facebook account, but if I were interested in baseball, I might consider getting one – if for nothing else than to watch these games.  If Facebook (and Twitter) can continue to make these kinds of offerings they are going to see an increase in subscribers for sure.  And that’s the goal right – to increase the number of Daily Active Users.  Because the way we consume media is changing, they have to be smart and proactive about what they’re doing to engage people, and I think this is a good move on Facebook’s part.

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