At 1pm the Mets-Phillies game will air exclusively on Facebook. This will be the first MLB game exclusively broadcasted on a social media platform. The move stems from an MLB initiative to expand viewership and attract a younger audience. The MLB has long struggled to captivate younger fans and has lagged behind the NFL and NBA viewership in recent years. The long average game time (3:05), long season (162 games), and slow pace of play have been attributed to the games viewership stagnation. To Major League Baseball’s credit, while the NFL has seen a drastic decline in its viewership over the past couple years, the MLB has not seen their decline at the same rate. Locally broadcasted games have remained relatively steady and some markets have shown growth, but the MLB continues to struggle with younger audiences, and their nationally televised broadcasts continue to pull comparatively weak ratings. Further contributing to the MLB’s problem, in a new trend, stadium attendance was down last season, but the MLB is actively trying to fix their problem, by introducing rules to improve the pace of play and shorten the game.
Facebook is one of the most heavily trafficked websites, and the social media platform caters to an audience that the MLB is trying to access. By exposing a younger viewership to baseball they may have the opportunity to slowly expand their fanbase and ensure the future of the sport at the same time. Over the next two months, Facebook has the broadcasting rights to nine MLB games, all mid-week afternoon games, and will broadcast a total of 25 games throughout the entire season. The Facebook broadcasts will be produced by the MLB Network and the games are accessible on any web-enabled streaming device from Facebook’s Watch MLB Live page. One feature of the broadcast is that it will be largely interactive, with the MLB Network team leveraging the social media platform to bring their audience into the game. Their goal is to engage with as much of the social media conversation as practicable without hindering the call of the game. Today’s broadcast will act as a barometer for the MLB and may prompt future investment in exploring social media as a broadcasting service to expand their audience.
Fans new to baseball will experience a good NL East matchup during today’s Mets-Phillies game which will showcase the aces of each pitching staff, Noah Syndergaard, and Aaron Nola. Both had strong outings in their season openers, Syndergaard struck out 10 batters, and Nola threw five shutout innings in only 68 pitches before being controversially pulled in a game that the Phillies eventually lost. Wins in the NL East have been hard to come by, and both teams are in a sprint to avoid an early chase of the division-leading Washington Nationals.
To watch today’s broadcast visit: https://www.facebook.com/MLBLiveGames/
Photo Credit: Newsweek