Well, this is new* and fun:
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) April 5, 2017
As part of a deal with MLB, Twitter will be streaming a game of the week each Friday, live and free on its platform. This week’s debut is the Cubs facing the Brewers, to be followed weekly by the Mets at Marlins (April 14), Red Sox at Orioles (April 21), and Reds at Cardinals (April 28). Games thereafter will be announced at a later time.
The big caveat – there’s always a big caveat when it comes to internet-distributed baseball content – is that the game is available out-of-market only. So, if you’re in the Chicago blackout region or the Milwaukee blackout region, no streaming for you. It’s a rather significant fly in the ointment of what I’d expect the purpose of this partnership is from MLB’s perspective (get the games in front of new, possibly younger, fans, and get others engaging about the game on Twitter). If local fans – new or old – can’t actually watch the game on Twitter, how much value is MLB really going to get, in terms of distribution? Local markets are always where you’re most likely to find new, long-term fans.
That said, I do appreciate MLB’s efforts on things like this – and most of the teams have been fantastic on Twitter for the past couple years now. And I also understand that local broadcast rights holders paid a whole lot of money for those games, and they don’t want to see the value desaturated by freebies on the internet (nothing could be worked out, though? No special exception for once a week, maybe two times per season tops per market?).
*(This arrangement was announced last year, but this is the first time a Cubs game has been featured.)