Facebook to stream 25 MLB games in exclusive deal

NEW YORK (AP) - Facebook is getting deeper into the professional sports streaming game, partnering with Major League Baseball to air 25 afternoon games in an exclusive deal.

The games will be available to Facebook users in the U.S. on Facebook Watch, the company's video feature, via the MLB Live show page. Facebook said Friday that recorded broadcasts will also be available globally, excluding select international markets.

Facebook, Twitter and Amazon and other tech companies are in a race to acquire sports streaming rights, both because it can be lucrative, and because it can potentially boost user loyalty.

Verizon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight basketball games on Yahoo. And Amazon paid $50 million last year to stream NFL games to Prime members last season.

Facebook says the games will be produced by the MLB Network for Facebook Watch, with interactive and social elements that make them different from simple live streaming.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The games will begin streaming on April 4.

While Facebook has streamed MLB games in the past, this is the company's first exclusive deal and the MLB's first digital-only national broadcast program. Last year, Facebook showed 20 Friday games using broadcast feeds from the participating teams.