"I'm sure Yankees fans will appreciate it," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who also played in the historic 2002 game that marked the first-ever live stream of a Major League Baseball video broadcast. "You see how they've always come out and supported us before this, and everywhere we go, there are people wearing Yankees gear. Anything that gives fans more access, it's a positive. I think it's great. I'm pretty sure more teams will follow."
MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) entered into a partnership with the YES Network and Cablevision to provide live YES Network Yankees telecasts to eligible Cablevision customers throughout the Yankees' home broadcasting territory. The offering, which will be implemented through an authentication process managed by Cablevision and MLBAM, will be available to Cablevision customers who subscribe to the Family Cable (expanded basic) level of television service and Optimum Online.
"It's an historic day for sports," YES CEO Tracy Dolgin said during the announcement of this package in late June. "For the first time, old and new media are really meeting. It means more convenience and portability for all of our consumers. It's only appropriate that it is happening first for the most historic franchise in sports, the Yankees. ... Now, on this historic day, with the cooperation of the Yankees, Cablevision, YES Network and MLBAM, the YES Network has really broken a logjam by being the first team to introduce in-market streaming to what are the greatest fans in the world."
Eligible Cablevision subscribers can review frequently asked questions about the product and purchase "Yankees on YES" at Yankees.com, YESNetwork.com and Optimum.net.
YES's territory includes 7.5 million households around New York City, Long Island, parts of New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.
Bob Bowman, CEO of MLBAM, said it was important to thank YES, the Yankees and Cablevision "for having the vision, the courage and the perseverance to get this deal done. There are a lot of interested parties here, a lot of important business models here that had to be respected and enhanced. But one thing we all did was put the fan first, to try and give him or her more choices and more options and recognize where we are in the technology world. This product launch of July 8 is proof positive. We're very excited and very grateful for all of the hard work of all of our partners in getting here today.
"This continues what has been a longstanding approach of baseball to make games available to its fans through electronic means, beginning way back when. I still remember when games were on radio, then broadcast TV, then cable TV, satellite TV, satellite radio, and MLBAM streaming games out of market in 2002, and then finally getting to where we are today in 2009 -- putting the fan first and giving him and her the most opportunity to see a ballgame on the off chance they can't go to a ballpark. That has been an underpinning of baseball for the last several decades -- I would say almost a century.
"The structure of this deal is an add-on feature to someone who's already a subscriber in the offline world to YES, to give them more opportunities and more portability, and it protects and enhances the existing economic relationship, which we think is important. ... We are hopeful at baseball and MLB.com that there will be more clubs, more RSNs, more MSOs that will join us in the 2009 season, and we look forward to making some of those announcements in the weeks ahead. ... The time is today and we're optimistic."
The Padres also have announced their version that will debut on July 16 in the San Diego market. Major League Baseball has indicated that it will gradually roll out similar in-market streaming deals, and that most clubs should be participating by next season.
"These agreements are an important part of our global effort to give fans greater access to our game," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "It is important that fans in local markets have portable flexibility to stay connected to their favorite team if they can't be at the ballpark, and I believe this represents a significant step in that direction."