Major League Baseball has agreed a one-season extension to its rights deal with Facebook, but the social media company will have a smaller line-up of live games in 2019.
The deal for MLB’s 2019 season, which commenced last week, ensures live games will be carried by Facebook for a third consecutive year.
However, only six live, regular-season games will be available globally on Facebook Watch, excluding local markets that are subject to blackout rules and select international markets.
In 2018, Facebook streamed live coverage of 25 weekday afternoon games and Michael Treanor, MLB’s producer of live events, insisted in November that the partnership had been a success despite mixed reactions to the deal.
While Facebook’s 2019 schedule has yet to be determined, Variety said its non-exclusive game broadcasts will let out-of-market fans watch one game per month for free on Facebook Watch to which they may not otherwise have had access. MLB will be able to sell sponsorships against those broadcasts.
Facebook will also continue to trial interactive and social elements to its coverage.