It used to be that Facebook was a place you'd turn to keep tabs on family and friends. You'd see pictures of kids, dogs and whatever else people chose to share, while also getting a look at their daily lives by reading their posted status updates.
Then, Facebook became a place to follow brands and celebrities, while also getting news. The choice of who and what to follow was always yours, but at that point, the social media site brought you more than it used to.
Never a company that likes to sit still, Facebook's newest venture is TV -- or, specifically, the live streaming of shows and events. There are already a couple of series in the works and there have been some live sports, but never before has Facebook had exclusive rights to a major U.S. sports league game. Until now, that is.
Last summer saw the debut of Major League Baseball on Facebook, though the matchups streamed on the network were also being broadcast on regular stations. This season will be different, as Facebook has exclusive streaming rights to 25 regular season games that will be available on mobile devices, via the desktop or on TVs through the Facebook app.
An April 4th game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies will lead off Facebook's coverage, which will be produced by the MLB Network. While Facebook will have the ability to integrate social interaction into the broadcast, the look and sound of what you see should be very familiar to baseball fans.
The Facebook/MLB broadcast schedule will be revealed on a month-to-month basis, and broadcasters for each game have yet to be decided.
Though it's only 25 games, all of which will be in the afternoon on weekdays, the fact that they will be exclusively on Facebook is just another step forward in the site's growth. They streamed 47 small-conference college basketball games this season; they also stream soccer, both from UEFA Champions League and Mexico's top league. They also host NFL content and have previously sought out other ways to expand their live streaming.
Facebook's expansion into live media is just another step toward traditional TV's move online. While it may seem a bit odd, the transition makes a lot of sense because as people continue to turn toward online mediums for their entertainment, sports leagues and television networks would be foolish not to adapt.
For the most part, that has meant streaming their content via apps and being available on outlets like Netflix and Sling TV, but we're starting to see an increase in things normally on standard television making their way to purely online outlets. Besides Facebook, games and news have also been available on places like Twitter and Yahoo!.
Early look at the schedule
As of now, April is the only month for which Facebook/MLB games have been announced. The schedule looks like this:
Wednesday, April 4: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets
Wednesday, April 11: Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Wednesday, April 18: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Thursday, April 26: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies
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