Once again, good luck trying to find Thursday's Phillies game on television.
For the third time this season, fans hoping to watch the Phillies will have to log into Facebook to see the game. The Phillies, who take on the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park at 1:05 p.m., will trot out starter Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.14 ERA) to take on Giants starter Ty Blach. (3-3, 3.60 ERA) in hopes of securing a four-game sweep.
The game is part of a new deal between MLB and Facebook that allows the social media giant to exclusively air 25 games this season on Facebook Watch, baseball's first foray into digital-only national broadcasts in an attempt to reach a younger audience. So far this season, the Phillies have appeared in half of Facebook's broadcasts, more than any other team in the league.
Scott Braun will once again handle play-by-play duties for the broadcast, this time joined by Phillies television analyst Ben Davis and Giants television analyst Javier Lopez. MLB Network host Alexa Datt will handle reporting duties. Phillies pitching coach Rick Kranitz is also expected to join the broadcast.
One big change MLB has made to its Facebook broadcast is incorporating the K-Zone on the screen for every pitch, a feature that will continue for Thursday's Phillies game. Davis will also step away from the broadcast for an inning or two to join the rolling online conversation linked to the game.
Here's the upcoming schedule for Facebook Watch broadcasts:
Facebook broadcasts averaged between 65,000 and 85,000 concurrent viewers over the league's first three games; data wasn't available for the most recent broadcast. The Phillies' 8-2 loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 26 garnered 4.2 million global videos (which is measured when a viewer watches the broadcast for at least three seconds). By comparison, the Phillies' first Facebook game (which had a rain delay) earned 4.3 million global views.