Facebook to exclusively stream 25 Major League Baseball games; Cardinals matchup included


The first game that will be broadcast on the platform will be a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citi Field in New York on April 4.

The news comes just days after the league expanded its partnership with YouTube TV that brings MLB Network to the streaming platform and makes it the presenting sponsor on the next two World Series.

In a unanimous vote from all 30 MLB teams, 25 games are to be broadcasted exclusively on Facebook Watch in the United States via the MLB's Live show Facebook page - marking the sports league's first digital-only national broadcasts.

The pact marks the first time that Facebook will exclusively stream competitions from one of the major USA sports leagues. MLB Network will introduce new in-game production elements specially designed for watching, sharing and interacting on the social network.

All games in the Facebook deal will be played on weekday afternoons, with a new game on the social network each week. The action gets under way on April 4 at 1:10 p.m. Last year, Facebook streamed 20 Major League Baseball games on its platform, but didn't have any exclusivity on those games. The social media giant will have the exclusive national rights to distribute 25 games this upcoming season (one per week). All 30 Major League Baseball teams unanimously approved the deal. The casual fan that doesn't even know what channel SNY is on their cable box, may happen to want to watch a game on Facebook if they stumble upon it.

But Facebook isn't the only tech company with eyes on streaming live sporting events. Facebook aired simulcasts of 20 Friday night games during the 2017 season and also has agreements in place to stream Champions League soccer matches and men's college basketball games. While the company passed on bidding for the streaming rights to NFL's Thursday Night Football package earlier this year, the deal with Major League Baseball proves that the company will play ball at the right price.

Following is the complete schedule for April (subject to change; all times are Eastern).

The games that will be broadcast on Facebook will all be afternoon games, primarily on Wednesdays. The first Facebook-only game will be on April 4th between the Phillies and Mets.