Facebook is reportedly in talks to stream Major League Baseball games, according to Bloomberg, which cites a person familiar with the matter. This is the most recent indication that professional sports leagues are embracing social networks as a way to reach a greater audience. The source informed the media outlet that the deal would involve one game a week in the coming season.
Live-streaming to help attract more young viewers
Citing sports media consultants, Reuters says the social networking giant has pushed to sign deals with sports rights owners to live-stream their games, going after an audience that rival Twitter is also attempting to attract. Live-streaming sports is the key to getting more and more people because sports is one of the few types of content that viewers still watch live.
Sports leagues, like all creators of TV programming, are struggling to adjust to the massive changes in the way people view video. Ratings of sports on conventional TV outlets have declined as more viewers spend time on their tablets and smartphones instead of watching TV. Working with Facebook could assist in attracting younger viewers to Major League Baseball, which boasts the oldest audience of the big sports leagues.
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According to Bloomberg, an agreement with the social media giant would need to be approved by the owners of Major League Baseball. It is not known which games MLB would live-stream on the social media platform. As of now, there has been no comment on the matter from Major League Baseball or Facebook.
Facebook going after sports content aggressively
In the sports world, a deal with the social media giant would not be the first such partnership. Last year, the National Football League streamed games on Twitter. More deals are expected for Facebook, which a sports partnerships division at its Menlo Park, California headquarters. Earlier this month, the social media giant struck an agreement with Univision Holdings Inc. to stream professional soccer games in Mexico.
Sports media consultant Lee Berke told Reuters, “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. It makes perfect sense that they would be going after name brand properties like the MLB.”
On Tuesday, Facebook shares closed up 0.14% at $133.72. Year to date, the stock is up more than 16%, while in the last year, it is up almost 28%.