Twitter adds to live sports roster with weekly MLB, NHL games


Twitter is based one town over from the Golden State Warriors, so maybe it’s not surprising that the social network is trying to build a superteam of live sports streams.

Twitter has signed a deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to livestream MLB and NHL games on its service. And the social network is also getting its own version of “SportsCenter.”

Once a week Twitter will air a live MLB game and a live NHL game that anyone in the U.S. can tune into for free. But people won’t be able to watch their hometown teams; Twitter will only air out-of-market games. So if you live in Los Angeles and the Dodgers are playing in Twitter’s game of the week, you’ll need to tune into the traditional tube that week. People in certain countries outside of the U.S. will also be able to watch MLB games.

The games will carry some of the ads that air during games’ regular TV broadcasts, but Twitter and MLBAM — the league’s video tech arm that owns the digital rights for MLB and NHL games — will also team up to sell a not-yet-decided percentage of the ads that will only air during the Twitter livestreams and will share the revenue from those ads.

Twitter is still working out when exactly these games will begin to air on Twitter and whether they’ll include playoff games, according to a company spokesperson. And Twitter isn’t releasing a schedule yet. But it’s possible that this October people will be able to watch live NFL, MLB and NHL games on Twitter. That’s a big three of American sports. But it’s not the fantastic four that Twitter would have if it’s eventually able to get the NBA to expand its recently renewed deal with Twitter to include live games.

If the NBA is the Kevin Durant that Twitter is missing, then “The Rally” may be the Andre Iguodala it has: an invaluable utility player.

“The Rally” will be a live sports news show produced by digital video firm 120 Sports, which is backed by the MLB, NHL and Time Inc. The show will air nightly, but Twitter is still figuring out if “nightly” means 7-nights-a-week or only weeknights.

Like ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” it will mix highlight clips from different sports with talking heads, but there’s a Twitter twist. “The Rally” will also pull data from Twitter to figure out what sports topics are trending at the moment and will feature interactive elements. The spokesperson wouldn’t give any details on what those interactive elements will be.

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