Facebook users will be able to stream several pre-season major league baseball games for free from the MLB’s Page or stories it publishes to the news feed. Sports have proved to be popular discussion fodder on Facebook, so the promotion could expand the MLB’s audience and generate a high volume of engagement.
Unlike Warner Bros renting films for Facebook Credits through dedicated apps, bringing the streamed video content to the center of user experience has much greater potential for wide reach and virility. If the MLB experiment succeeds in either driving significant Likes or engagement on Facebook, or selling streaming content subscriptions offsite, more brands could look to stream video from the news feed.
Users can easily re-share the post, Like it, comment on it to converse with other baseball fans, and or publish their own feed story discussing the game. And if the millions of status updates about World Cup games are any indicator, users will be eager to employ these social features.
Likes, comments, and shares will raise awareness of the MLB’s game streaming, which is planned through the pre-season but could include regular season games as well. The MLB hopes users will grow to enjoy streaming games online, and then purchase a full season subscription on mlb.com, which it is promoting through a tab on its Page.
In this way, video streaming on Facebook could be used for premium content lead generation, as well as a way to grow a content provider’s Page. This indirect model could end up driving much more revenue than trying to make money directly through content sales on Facebook.