ST. LOUIS – Major League Baseball and Facebook have partnered for the 2018 MLB season to produce and broadcast one game each week to air exclusively on Facebook.
Cardinal Nation had its first taste of the new way to watch the games Wednesday. Some fans found it convenient but businesses weren’t thrilled.
“The convenience of having it on your phone or iPad, that`ll be cool,” said Cardinal’s fan Yvonne Kline. She had tickets to the game at Busch Stadium but stepped out briefly with a friend and had the game on Facebook. “It’s a really good picture too,” she added.
Nearby restaurants like Flying Saucer said the Facebook broadcast was bad for business because they didn’t have any way of showing the game to fans. Ornella Halawi, a server at Flying Saucer, said fans usually trickle in before the game or during the 7th inning to have a drink and watch the rest of the game on tv. That didn’t happen this time.
“It`s not the experience that a lot of fans are used to,” Halawi said. “Having it in Facebook is more distancing. People might stay home,” she said.
The Cardinals are excited about this new way to reach fans worldwide.
“It’s really an effort by Major League Baseball to reach their younger viewing audience and a broader viewing audience may provide a different experience. Watching a game there’s lots of interactions going on during the game,” said Dan Farrell, Cardinals Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
“Baseball was really pleased with the results of the first one somewhere in the range of over 800,000 viewers at one point in time, which is significantly more than would tune in to a tv broadcast in the middle of the week,” Farrell said.
Fans who do not have a Facebook account may listen to the live local radio broadcasts on multiple platforms or follow pitch-by-pitch tracking on MLB.com and MLB At Bat. - In addition, full game archives will be available 90 minutes after the game ends on MLB.TV and MLB At Bat (subscription required).