The television broadcaster for the New York Yankees is launching its own streaming service that will offer baseball fans a way to follow their favorite team without a traditional cable or satellite subscription.
The service, called YES, will offer a live stream of the YES Network through the YES app for $25 a month or $240 a year, the network announced in a press release on Wednesday. Through April 30, customers who sign up for the stream will get an early bird discount, bringing the cost down to $20 a month or $200 a year (the monthly price is good through the end of the calendar year).
“We are pleased to introduce a direct subscription option,” Jon. D. Litner, the CEO of YES Network, said in a statement. “For more than 20 years, YES has provided fans with a best-in-class sports viewing experience. Fans continue to tune in to and engage with YES in record numbers for the most in-depth and most innovative coverage of our teams and our other award-winning programming. 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.”
The streaming service will be limited only to the YES Network’s in-market coverage area — in other words, streamers will only be able to subscribe and watch live events if a cable or satellite provider in their area also carries the channel. In addition to live Yankees games, YES Network also carries live telecasts of games played by the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and WNBA’s New York Liberty.
The launch of the service not only gives cord-cutters an option to watch some New York sports without cable, it also offers some insight into how much a broadcaster like YES Network feels its brand is worth.
Live sports accounts for a significant amount of a cable or satellite subscriber’s bill, with most pay TV providers charging a regional sports fee to offset the rising cost of delivering sports channels to consumers. YES Network is considered a regional sports channel, though a version of the network without live games is available to some cable and satellite customers beyond the New York metropolitan area.
Other regional sports networks have made similar moves to offer streaming access to games without a cable or satellite subscription. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports launched a Bally Sports-branded streaming service that costs $20 a month or $190 a year in areas where the regional sports network is available. Likewise, MSG Networks — which airs New York-area NBA and NHL games — says it will launch a streaming service of its own later this summer at a price point of $30 a month or $310 a year.