Facebook makes pitch to show baseball live

NEW YORK • Facebook is in talks with Major League Baseball (MLB) to live stream one game a week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports.

Facebook has pushed to sign deals with owners of sports rights to live stream their games, going after an audience that competitor Twitter 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 brand-name properties like the MLB."

The companies were in advanced talks, according to one source. However, it was unclear which games MLB would live stream on Facebook. The season starts on April 2.

Representatives for Facebook and MLB declined to comment.

Over the past few months, Facebook has live streamed global basketball, football and table tennis matches.

While Facebook is aggressively pursuing sports deals, Twitter has established a coveted relationship with the National Football League (NFL). But Facebook does not need the NFL to claim victory in live sports, according to Berke.

"The scope of their audience is worldwide," he said. "They have a range of audiences and sports loyalties they can appeal to."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Facebook makes pitch to show baseball live'. Print Edition | Subscribe