Ultimate Fighting Championship had already begun looking into the benefits of using Facebook to livestream matches and attract new fans, so it was a matter of time until some other sports association tried the marketing move themselves.
Enter Major League Baseball, which is letting fans watch a few selected baseball games live on a Facebook page until the end of the month (the end of the pre-season).
Unlike UFC, however, the stream is being fed right into MLB’s wall and doesn’t require installing an application to watch it. It’s literally just a click away. However, not every baseball game will be available on Facebook – – today’s six games, like Red Sox at Braves, Cardinals at Tigers, or the Giants at White Sox, will only be available on demand at MLB.tv.
Why the differentiation? Bob Bowman, chief executive officer of MLB.com, explains that the free games on Facebook are only to test the social network’s “promotional power” and is not to become a standard service. In fact, if you’re watching the game on Facebook and want to augment the window size, you can’t – – you must go to MLB.tv and sign up for for an account. Then you’ll be able to watch the game online on a full-size screen.
Of course, MLB could continue this promotional tactic into the regular season should it be a total success.
Livestreaming on Facebook seems to slowly be growing into a solid platform for companies to promote their entertainment products. Just a week ago, Warner Brothers began renting out The Dark Knight on a dedicated Facebook page, for $3 or 30 credits — although we’ve heard that the video quality needs improvement.
Such technical difficulties would only add to the possible opportunity that Netflix hopes to avail itself with a forthcoming video streaming on Facebook. Sony Home Entertainment has also expressed interest in this space.
Do you think livestreaming video entertainment on Facebook is bound to only get bigger? Can it become a solid promotional platform for companies?