Facebook will live-stream 20 MLB games starting tomorrow

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By Tim Peterson

Facebook may have missed out on streaming the country’s most popular sport, but it has signed a deal to broadcast America’s pastime.

Facebook will broadcast 20 Major League Baseball games during this year’s regular season. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the deal on Thursday during the league’s quarterly Owners Meetings, according to a video of the announcement provided by a Facebook spokesperson. Reuters had reported in February that Facebook and the MLB were in talks about a weekly broadcast deal.

Facebook will air one national MLB game per week on Friday nights, starting with tomorrow night’s matchup between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, according to the spokesperson. Anyone in the US will be able to watch the game through the MLB’s Facebook Page without blackouts.

“We’re thrilled to work with MLB to enable baseball fans on Facebook to watch live games and connect with friends and fellow fans around the action, no matter where they live in the US, and are excited to help the league continue to reach new audiences on our platform,” said Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, Dan Reed, in an emailed statement.

But Facebook won’t be the only social network broadcasting MLB games this season, or even tomorrow night. Twitter signed a similar deal with the league’s video tech arm last year. Though Twitter’s deal is subject to blackout rules, its broadcasts are also scheduled for Friday night, including tomorrow night’s game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. I’m waiting to hear back from a Twitter spokesperson about whether its MLB broadcast schedule has changed in the wake of Facebook’s deal.

Unlike Twitter’s MLB streams, for now Facebook will not be selling any ads against its game broadcasts, according to the Facebook spokesperson.

Similar to Twitter’s NFL live-streams last season, Facebook will not be producing its own stream but syndicating a TV broadcast. In the case of the MLB games, Facebook will air the local feed from whoever owns the broadcast rights.

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