It’s the first time Facebook has had exclusive distribution rights to games from a major sports league.
Facebook will stream 25 Major League Baseball games this season, and you won’t be able to watch them anywhere else online or on TV.
It’s the first time that Facebook has secured exclusive rights to a major U.S. sporting event, and the first time that Major League Baseball has had “digital-only national broadcasts.” Bloomberg first reported the news.
It’s interesting news, not necessarily because the games are going to draw massive audiences (they likely won’t), but because it’s a sign that major sports leagues are getting more comfortable with their games appearing online — and only online — versus with traditional TV partners.
It’s also worth noting this is one of the few instances of a digital player taking valuable content away from traditional TV — in this case, games from a major U.S. sports league. Facebook and others have in the past gotten rights to second- or third-tier sports content, or streaming rights to games that were already going to be available on major TV stations. Now, with full media rights, Facebook is showing it can win rights to sought-after programming.