July 23, 2024
New York Yankees’ YES Network launches streaming option for cord cutters ahead of baseball Opening Day

New York Yankees’ YES Network launches streaming option for cord cutters ahead of baseball Opening Day

Cable-cord cutters in the New York area can now stream Yankees games — but it’ll be expensive.

The YES Network on Wednesday announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service with which users who don’t get local cable TV can watch its live sports broadcasts, including Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty games.

The service will cost $24.99 a month, or $239.99 a year, with a special offer of $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year for those who sign up by April 30. YES’s traditional TV customers will be able to access the streaming service for free.

In comparison, the most expensive Netflix NFLX, +1.93% tier is $19.99 a month.

Service starts immediately, so cord-cutting baseball fans will be able to watch the Yankees’ season opener against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

“We are pleased to introduce a direct subscription option,” YES Network Chief Executive Jon D. Litner said in a statement. “With this new direct-to- consumer offering, we are broadening our reach by making YES available to more fans in our regional footprint than ever before.”

Last month, MSG Networks, owned by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. MSGE, +2.68%, announced it would launch MSG+, a streaming service offering live sports for $9.99 a game, $29.99 a month or $309.99 a year. MSG Networks broadcasts New York Knicks NBA games, along with New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils NHL games.

The moves come amid turmoil among regional sports networks, which are bleeding money as more and more consumers drop their cable plans in favor of streaming. In the past, lucrative broadcast deals for live sports were cost effective because of bundled cable packages, where subscribers essentially paid for the sports even if they never watched those channels. But that business model is imploding due to cord-cutting.

Earlier this month, Diamond Sports Group, an entity owned by Sinclair SBGI that operates under the Bally Sports banner and broadcasts nearly half of MLB, NBA and NHL games around the country, filed for bankruptcy.

Now, streaming subscribers — and live-sports fans especially — are realizing that à la carte programming may be a lot more expensive.

Julia Alexander, director of strategy at Parrot Analytics, tweeted Wednesday that YES’s offering was an “extremely big deal,” but noted “If you wanted access to your favorite teams year round (let’s say three or four in your district) you’re looking at several hundred dollars a year.”

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