SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 of the league’s games live this season in an agreement that expands the social media network further into the world of live programming.
Facebook said in a statement on Thursday that it would stream one game a week beginning on Friday, and the broadcasts would be available to everyone on Facebook in the United States.
Reuters reported in February that Facebook and MLB were in talks to stream one game per week as part of an aggressive push to become a destination for live sports.
Rival U.S. internet firms are racing for similar programming. Twitter Inc announced an agreement this month with the WNBA to show professional women’s basketball, and last month Amazon.com Inc said it would stream men’s professional football in a deal with the NFL.
For the baseball broadcast, Facebook said it will use a feed from a participating team’s local broadcast rightsholder.
“Baseball games are uniquely engaging community experiences, as the chatter and rituals in the stands are often as meaningful to fans as the action on the diamond,” Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, said in a statement.
“By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale,” he said.
Facebook says it has some 182 million daily active users in the United States and Canada.
Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler