Manfred hopes for regular-season MLB games in Europe in 2019

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The games will be freely accessible on Facebook via the official Major League Baseball page.

The first stream will be with the Rockies vs. Reds game on Friday, May 19, at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Baseball (18.1%), Ice Hockey (11.0%), Rugby (18.7%) and Swimming on a Team (26.9%) all saw significant one-year increases in casual participation.

Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement today during the team owners' quarterly meetings in NY.

Major League Baseball and Facebook have partnered on a weekly national telecast of 20 games on Facebook Live this season.

The Facebook deal with MLB is the latest between social media networks and pro sports leagues. Tech companies have been targeting live sports recently in an effort to increase video ad revenue.

And with teams from countries like Israel, Italy and the Netherlands all having success there, the appeal of playing games in other countries has become more and more logical.

The MLB move echoes a similar deal between the National Basketball Association and Facebook.

American football, which faces the same challenges as baseball in terms of dwindling participation numbers at the youth level, also struck a deal with Twitter a year ago to stream 10 games live over the micro-blogging network. Twitter Inc announced an agreement this month with the WNBA to show professional women's basketball, and last month Inc said it would stream men's professional football in a deal with the NFL. Earlier this year the company expanded its livestreaming deal with the PGA and, during this year's Digital Content NewFronts, announced partnerships with the WNBA and Major League Baseball.

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