For the first time in MLB history in 2018, the league reached an exclusive broadcast agreement with Facebook to produce 26 live games online for $30 million.
The games were solely broadcasted on Facebook and included real-time fan interaction, which brought back mixed reviews as some fans enjoyed the change while others did not like having to create a Facebook account to watch a game online with emojis and comments as opposed to on their television.
It appears the experiment worked well enough to pursue further as MLB producer of live events Michael Treanor said the hope is to come to an agreement with Facebook for the 2019 season, via Dan Bernstein of Sporting News:
“Based upon the dialogue that I’ve had with those at MLB and Facebook, I’m optimistic that there will be a Season 2 of MLB Live on Facebook Watch,” Michael Treanor, MLB producer of live events, told Sporting News. “The relationship between the two entities flourished and I’m hopeful that we’ll begin to hear rumblings of a new contract.”
According to an SN analysis confirmed by Facebook (via Sporting News), MLB games on Facebook received 123 million views (defined as a person having the video open for at least three seconds). The average viewer age for the Facebook broadcasts was close to 20 years younger than average viewer age on traditional TV.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had one game broadcasted via Facebook Watch; a matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 3. The game featured Rich Waltz on the call alongside analysts from both clubs, with Orel Hershiser representing the Dodgers’ and Eric Byrnes on behalf of the Diamondbacks. Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA served as the reporter.
If they were to partner again in 2019, which will likely be the case, the schedule of games will be announced as the season progresses.