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MLB, Facebook Partner To Stream One Free Game A Week; MLB At Bat VR To Make Debut

MLB, Facebook Partner To Stream One Free Game A Week; MLB At Bat VR To Make Debut

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MLB and Facebook have "finalized a partnership to stream games on a weekly basis," beginning Friday night with the Rockies-Reds matchup, according to Matt Kelly of MLB.com. One MLB game will "stream each Friday night on Facebook, and will be accessible to everyone on the platform via its official MLB page." Each week's broadcast will "feature the feed from a participating team's local broadcast rightsholder." Friday night's Rockies-Reds game will be the "first of 20 games streamed live." This is MLB's "first regular-season foray into live streaming of games on Facebook," though  MLB.com "previously streamed select Spring Training games on teams' Facebook pages" in '11 (MLB.com, 5/18). MLB games that had been distributed on Twitter on Friday nights this season will now shift to Tuesdays to accommodate the new Facebook games (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). CNBC’s Wilfred Frost called the MLB-Facebook partnership "another big, big sign these online players -- be it Facebook or Apple TV or Twitter or Google -- moving into the live sports arena, and again, just heating up the cost for this type of live content" (“Worldwide Exchange,” CNBC, 5/19).

IN THE BATTER'S BOX
: MLB's At Bat VR app will make its public debut on June 1, and MLB.com's Mike Petriello noted it will be the "first complete live-game sports experience" in VR. That means "not only can you watch real-time video (or any archived game back to 2015), you can do it [in] an immersive virtual experience." Watching the game in VR adds an "entirely new layer of interest, simply because of what the technology is capable of." The main screen in front of you "shows the live video -- like traditional MLB.TV, you can choose which feed you prefer -- and to the sides, you get the play-by-play and the box score." But what really "sets this apart is the 3D strike zone, which is presented with you in the catcher's position, watching the pitch come in toward you." At Bat VR takes the idea of the strike-zone tracker to its "next logical step, making the strike zone three dimensional, color-coded by the hot zones of the current hitter, and in addition to showing where the pitch crosses the plate, it shows a heat trail of the actual path in doing so" (MLB.com, 5/18).

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