Twitter signs deal with NHL and MLB to livestream games

Twitter has struck a deal to livestream some NHL and Major League Baseball games for free, but Canada will be shut out for the most part.

NHL, Blue Jay games won't be streamed in Canada due to broadcasting rights

Twitter will livestream some NHL and MLB games starting next season, but social networking site users in Canada will be shut out for the most part. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Twitter has struck a deal to livestream some NHL and Major League Baseball games for free, but Canada will be shut out for the most part.

Twitter Inc. announced Monday it will stream one weekly out-of-market hockey and baseball game per week, and will also create a nightly sports highlights show, The Rally, which will be streamed free daily.

"Twitter has long been a great partner and platform for both baseball and hockey fans as they follow their favourite teams and players every day," said Kenny Gersh, a spokeman with MLB's media division. "We know fans will embrace what this wide-ranging partnership brings – expanded and reliable access to live baseball and hockey and the introduction of Twitter's first daily live highlight show delivered intuitively to a platform where they're actively engaged with the games."

Every week, one game that does not have national television broadcast rights will be streamed to users, whether they are logged in or not. Twitter says the offer will include "select international territories" — but that term apparently does not include Canada.

Canada not included

Rogers owns a major chunk of televised and digital streaming rights to NHL games in Canada, and what Rogers doesn't own is controlled by other broadcasters, including Bell. As a result, Twitter users in Canada won't be able to access hockey games.

Twitter will also stream baseball games, except for Blue Jay games, which will be blacked out because Rogers also owns those broadcast rights.

The Rally will also not be available in Canada due to broadcasting rights.

A full schedule of available games will be released at a later date, Twitter said.

The move is part of Twitter's push to become more of a destination for live event coverage.

Next season, Twitter will begin to stream Thursday night NFL games that are outside designated broadcast areas. Those, too, will not air in Canada due to broadcasting rights reasons.

The service also livestreamed the recent Wimbledon tennis championships.


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