Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season", said Dan Reed, Facebook head of global sports partnerships.
Facebook's deal consists of weekday afternoon games, mostly on Wednesdays. For the first time, YouTube TV will also partner with MLB on a brand new season-long sponsorship - "First Pitch" - that will bring to life the YouTube TV brand during the first pitches of games on MLB Network and MLB.tv, and will be amplified on MLB.com and MLB social channels.
The partnership will begin on April 4 with a match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.
It also marks another major test for the future of live sports rights, with many Wall Street analysts speculating that tech companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon could step up and outbid media companies for marquee sporting events when those deals expire in coming years.
The sports streaming landscape has grown increasingly competitive in recent years, with digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon bidding millions to secure exclusive rights to lure new users.
"The deal is meant to establish skills and resources for Facebook to potentially bid on larger games with the Major League Baseball and other properties", Berke said. Every game also will be available globally on the show page, excluding select worldwide markets. Louis on April 11, Kansas City-Toronto on April 18 and Arizona-Philadelphia on April 26.
"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our clubs to connect with people around the world", said Tony Petitti, deputy commissioner of business and media for MLB.
The games will be produced by the MLB Network for Facebook Watch, with interactive and social elements that differentiate them from live streaming. This is Major League Baseball's first digital-only national agreement. Facebook can also show the games globally though they won't be exclusives outside the U.S.
Facebook had a package of 20 non-exclusive Friday night games a year ago that began in mid-May and used broadcast feeds from the participating teams.