Facebook to stream 25 Major League Baseball games in exclusive deal

MLB will receive $30 million to $35 million for the deal. (AP)
Updated 10 March 2018
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Facebook to stream 25 Major League Baseball games in exclusive deal

NEW YORK: Facebook is getting deeper into the professional sports streaming game, partnering with Major League Baseball to air 25 weekday afternoon games in an exclusive deal.
The games will be available to Facebook users in the US on Facebook Watch, the company’s video feature announced last August, via the MLB Live show page. Facebook said Friday that recorded broadcasts also will be available globally, excluding select international markets.
The package, MLB’s first digital-only national broadcast agreement, precludes teams from televising those games on their regional sports networks.
Facebook’s selection will come from among the nine games per season teams can lose from their local telecasts to national video partners, which include Fox and ESPN.
MLB owners approved the deal in a telephone meeting this week. MLB will receive $30m to $35m, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the amount was not released.
Facebook, Twitter and Amazon and other tech companies are in a race to acquire sports streaming rights, which can be lucrative and potentially boost user loyalty. The deal comes at a time when leagues are worrying about cord-cutters causing a decrease in viewers among cable television networks.
Verizon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight basketball games on Yahoo, and Amazon paid $50m to stream NFL games to Prime members last season.
The games will be produced by the MLB Network for Facebook Watch, with interactive and social elements that differentiate them from live streaming.
Facebook’s first-month schedule includes Philadelphia-New York Mets on April 4, Milwaukee-St. Louis on April 11, Kansas City-Toronto on April 18 and Arizona-Philadelphia on April 26.
Facebook had a package of 20 non-exclusive Friday night games last year that began in mid-May and used broadcast feeds from the participating teams.


Nicaragua police raid opposition paper, end rights groups’ permits

View of damages at the office of Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who rents at the building of the NGO Center of Investigation on Communication (CINCO) in Managua on December 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Nicaragua police raid opposition paper, end rights groups’ permits

  • Confidencial’s front door was sealed with tape following the raid. Police seized work equipment and documents

MANAGUA: Nicaraguan police have raided the offices of an opposition daily and then stripped human rights and activist groups’ permission to operate, those targeted said Saturday.
Nine police officers armed with rifles entered the offices late Friday and started pushing people, beating others and making fun of reporters after journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro challenged them to take on his media outlet without a search warrant in his online daily Confidencial and news broadcasts Esta Semana and Esta Noche, he said.
What you are doing “is just de facto. If you have the order, I ask you to show it,” Chamorro said from the street to the agent who barred him and other colleagues from entering the offices.
“Police did not show any order at all... so this is an armed assault on private property, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and free enterprise,” he later told reporters.
Confidencial’s front door was sealed with tape following the raid. Police seized work equipment and documents.
Chamorro went to the police headquarters to demand the return of equipment, noting that the newspaper and television programs “are private companies attached to the commercial register, and have nothing to do with organizations that are being persecuted.”
The offices of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) and four other NGOs in Managua were also occupied, and lawmakers canceled their permits to operate.
“Brutal display of brute force against journalists from @confidencial_ni in Nicaragua... this regime... aims to demolish critical voices in its country,” Human Rights Watch director Jose Miguel Vivanco said on Twitter.
Leftist President Daniel Ortega first came to power in 1979 as a leader of the leftist Sandinista rebels that toppled the US-backed Somoza family dictatorship. After leaving office in 1990 he returned to power in 2007.