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Facebook in talks with MLB to live stream one game per week

Facebook Inc is in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season.

By: Reuters |
February 22, 2017 12:46:01 pm
Facebook Inc, Major League Baseball, live stream live sports, Twitter Inc, Social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Live streaming sports, MLB, Facebook Live, Live stream Mexican soccer matches in English, Facebook reach, Univision Communications Inc, livestream 46 matches in Mexican soccer league Liga MX,  global basketball, Table tennis, Twitter NFL partnership, Technology, Technology news  Live streaming sports is key to attracting people since sports is one of the few types of content that people still watch live. ( Image for representation, Source: Reuters)

Facebook Inc is in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports, according to two people familiar with the situation.

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Facebook has pushed to sign deals with owners of sports rights to live stream their games, going after an audience that competitor Twitter Inc is also trying to capture, according to sports media consultants. For social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, live streaming sports is key to attracting people since sports is one of the few types of content that people still watch live.

“Facebook is aggressively going after sports content and they are now one of a number of competitors to traditional media outlets that are going after sports programming,” said sports media consultant Lee Berke. “It makes perfect sense that they would be going after name brand properties like the MLB.”

The companies were in advanced talks, according to one source. It was unclear which games MLB would live stream on Facebook. A representative for Facebook and MLB declined to comment. By partnering with Facebook, MLB would get access to a young audience at a massive scale, consultants said.

The size of Facebook’s reach was a big reason Univision Communications Inc decided to use Facebook Live to live stream Mexican soccer matches in English, said Tonia O’Connor, chief commercial officer and president of content distribution at Univision.

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Under that deal, Facebook will live stream 46 matches by Mexican soccer league Liga MX in 2017. Terms were not disclosed. Over the past few months, Facebook has live streamed global basketball and soccer matches and table tennis.

While Facebook is aggressively pursuing sports deals, Twitter has established a coveted relationship with the National Football League. But Facebook does not need the NFL to claim victory in live sports, Berke said. “The scope of their audience is worldwide,” Berke said. “They have a range of audiences and sports loyalties they can appeal to.

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