Facebook deal a success, says MLB

Michael Treanor, Major League Baseball’s producer of live events, has insisted the league’s partnership with social media company Facebook has been a success despite mixed reactions to the deal.

In March, Facebook struck a deal with MLB to stream live coverage of 25 weekday afternoon games. Through the exclusive agreement, games have been made available to Facebook users in the US through Facebook Watch, a video feature launched by the company in August 2017, via the MLB Live page.

The deal, which was worth a reported $30m (€26.1m), has attracted some criticism from fans who feel they should not be forced to join Facebook to follow their team. The interactive nature of the streams has proved popular with others, though, and the league is considering renewing the partnership in 2019.

In an interview with the Sporting News website, Treanor said: “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. The relationship between the two entities flourished and I’m hopeful that we’ll begin to hear rumblings of a new contract.”

He added: “Because we as a people have been given the opportunity to comment on virtually anything via a keystroke, you’re always going to have those that voice their displeasure about something that irks them, no matter what it may be. I think avid fans of certain teams are accustomed to watching their team on their station with their announce team. It’s a difficult habit to break.”

According to Sporting News analysis confirmed by Facebook, the company’s MLB streams received 123 million views.