For the second straight year, Twitter will stream one Major League Baseball game per week, available for free with a Twitter login.
The games will reportedly stream on weekday afternoons, beginning Thursday with Rangers-Athletics at 3:35 p.m. ET. That matchup will be followed by Rays-White Sox on April 10, Astros-Mariners on April 19 and Angels-Astros on April 25. All games will be available out-of-market only, through the official MLB Twitter account as well as at live.twitter.com/MLB. They will feature a simulcast of a participating team’s local broadcast.
The slate of games is the most prominent aspect of a larger deal between MLB and Twitter. The social media site has once again created custom hashtag emojis for each MLB team and will, according to SportTechie, renew the weekly roundup show, The Dugout.
As every sports league weighs how best to capitalize on the growing digital market, MLB and its teams have been particularly aggressive. In addition to its arrangement with Twitter, the league has partnered with Facebook for a series of live games, first non-exclusively and now exclusively, and has engaged in a similar deal with Yahoo.
The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, have struck a partnership with Facebook on their own, and nearly every team has worked out in-market streaming through their local broadcast partners.
In some ways, baseball is uniquely suited to these types of deals. With so many games, MLB and its teams can afford to toss a few toward this platform and a few more toward that one. It can even afford to offer up a chunk of those contests as exclusives, as it did with Facebook, without fans getting too angry.
In fact, for most fans who work office jobs, streaming games will be more convenient during daytime hours than watching on linear TV would be. It’s only sensible, therefore, that MLB continues to push afternoon games on digital partners and that those partners continue to embrace them.