Baseball, Movies Come to Facebook

Catch this: after you're finished watching your Facebook rental of The Dark Knight, you can hop over to Major League Baseball's fan page and see live streaming video of entire spring training games. Is now the time to cancel your $200 cable package and delete your Netflix subscription? Probably not.

MLB.com will provide a live stream of one spring training game per day on its Facebook fan page through the end of April, when spring training ends.

Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB.com, hinted at the possibility of extending the Facebook streams into the regular baseball season, but at the moment MLB.com is just using the social network as a trampoline to promote its MLB.TV subscription service. "What we're trying to do is figure out who these fans are, whether they like it, and whether they share it," Bowman told All Things Digital.

The MLB.TV subscription service costs between $20 and $25 a month (or $120 per year) for streams of all out-of-market regular season games and select spring training games, available online or on a mobile device. The Facebook streams are free, but the video can't be expanded beyond the small box in your news feed; clicking on the video brings you to MLB.TV's marketer's den.

Scoping out a baseball game on Facebook makes more sense than renting feature-length films (especially films that have been watched to death and available for years) because baseball, more so than movies, is a social event. Commenting on the action as the action unfolds is a staple of baseball -- but a huge annoyance for movie-watching. But the question is whether people will want to turn their Facebook accounts into ragtag media centers. Judging from the mere 139 "likes" attributed to the Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game, it seems to me that sports fan are sticking to the good ol' boob tube.

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