Soshnick noted it is the first time one of the major United States sports leagues gave exclusive broadcasting rights for games to a social network.
MLB Network will produce the broadcasted games, which primarily take place on weekday afternoons, beginning with an April 4 Philadelphia Phillies-at-New York Mets contest and an April 11 meeting between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.
Last season, Facebook livestreamed 20 Friday games as a simulcast with the teams' local television broadcasts. And it might mark the first inning of what could be a seismic shift for sports from its historic home on TV to digital over the next few years as more rights come due.
Facebook has been gradually been growing out its sports lineup, including deals to stream soccer and college basketball games, but the deal with Major League Baseball serves as a clear sign that the social media giant is ready to kick things up a notch. Major League Baseball will release the broadcast schedule a month at a time, to allow for more flexibility and the ability to stream games later in the season that may have more playoff implications.
Following is the complete schedule for April (subject to change; all times are Eastern).
The games will be available for free through Facebook's Watch tab in News Feeds.
Thursday, April 26: Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 1:05 p.m.
The action gets under way on April 4 at 1:10 p.m. "It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week".
In November, the company was said to be looking to hire an executive to negotiate the acquisition of other broadcasting rights for sports leagues. These deals are expensive - in 2016, the NCAA extended its agreement with Turner and CBS to air the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball tournament, which had a price tag of $8.8 billion - and it's hard to know whether Facebook or Amazon would be able to secure good deals for these kinds of games.