Is Social Media the Next Platform for Live Sports?

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Social media has long been on the cutting edge of spreading news and data across the web, but now the biggest firm out there is looking to take a bite out of live sports. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is taking a page from the Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) playbook, but in a somewhat different iteration.

Both Twitter and Facebook have been moving steadily in the direction to live streaming, whether it is the presidential election or something happening on the local news.

Twitter’s platform introduced Periscope first in May 2015, although this had somewhat of a slow start. Facebook introduced Live back in April 2016, which is more or less the equivalent of Periscope. Each of these platforms laid the foundation for the live streaming service that each company offers. Keep in mind this is not the first time that Facebook has “copied” another company’s platform.

Previously, Twitter partnered with the National Football League (NFL) to live stream its Thursday night games. The deal was for Twitter to stream 10 games for a total of $10 million. Unfortunately, this didn’t move the needle that much for user growth, but it did introduce the idea of watching live sports on social media.

Facebook is looking to take this idea and hit a home run with it. The social media giant is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball (MLB) to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season. The next step for Facebook is aggressively pursuing sports content, to further compete with traditional media outlets — which they already do for advertising.

Going after a brand name property like MLB seems like a natural progression, with potentially the National Basketball Association (NBA) on the horizon, among others.

Even Univision has used Facebook’s Live platform to live stream Mexican soccer matches in English. According to this deal, Facebook will live stream 46 matches of the Mexican soccer league in 2017.

Shares of Facebook were trading at $134.02 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $159.72 and a 52-week trading range of $102.74 to $135.49.

Twitter traded at $16.50. The consensus analyst price target is $14.25, and the 52-week range is $13.73 to $25.25.