MLB in Talks to Livestream Games on Facebook

After the success Twitter saw in its Thursday Night Football livestreams, Facebook is reportedly in talks to livestream one MLB game a week during the upcoming season, per a Reuters report.

As the cord-cutting trend has continued to grow across the United States, it’s only natural that sports leagues are turning to social media to maintain their audiences. Last year, the National Football League saw positive results while streaming Thursday Night Football games on Twitter.

Now, Major League Baseball and Facebook are in advanced talks to stream one MLB game per week on the platform. The deal could be a “key win” for Facebook as it competes with Twitter over the rights to livestream sporting events, according to sources familiar with the situation via Reuters.

It’s unclear which MLB games would be streamed, though it’s unlikely the games would be on Sunday with ESPN’s weekly Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. A representative for Facebook and MLB declined to comment.

Facebook has invested a ton of resources into livestreams over the past year, so the next logical step would be to stream sporting events.

“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,” sports media consultant Lee Berke said to Reuters. “It makes perfect sense that they would be going after name brand properties like the MLB.”

Facebook recently began streaming global basketball and soccer matches. The breadth of Facebook’s reach was a deciding factor in Univision’s use of Facebook Live to livestream Mexican soccer matches in English, Tonia O’Connor, chief commercial officer and president of content distribution at Univision, said via Reuters.

With that deal, Facebook will livestream 46 matches by Mexican soccer league Liga MX in 2017. Terms were not disclosed, however.

Twitter broadcast NFL games in conjunction with NBC and CBS Sports, but it’s unclear if Facebook would partner with other networks.

While livestreaming sports is currently limited, it’s clear that the future of watching live sporting events is through social media. With real-time comments and analysis from anyone watching available, the way people consume sports is quickly changing.

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