Not content with partnering with Warner Bros. to stream movie rentals through the site, Facebook is continuing to build its web video offerings by teaming with Major League Baseball to offer free pre-season games live until the end of the month.
According to MLB.com’s CEO, Bob Bowman, the partnership is actually less about Facebook’s video plans and more about Facebook’s potential in building the MLB brand. Fans who want to watch the games are redirected off-site to sign up for a free account that will allow them to watch games online until the end of the month — at which point they’ll have a chance to sign up for a $120 season-long subscription to keep watching. (Whether Facebook will continue to offer free games during the season is under discussion.) “What we’re trying to do is figure out who these fans are, whether they like it, and whether they’ll share it,” according to Bowman.
Live-streaming of sports events may nonetheless be the next big thing in VoD; YouTube was revealed last month to be in talks with the NBA and NHL to stream live games by the end of this year, and Apple TV is already streaming NBA and MLB games for subscribers.
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