SBD/March 22, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

YES Network Promo For MLB Opening Day Celebrates Players Yankees Fans Are Watching

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YES Network is promoting Opening Day of the Yankees’ season with a new 60-second ad that implies the team’s fans should feel fortunate that some of the best players of this generation currently wear pinstripes. The ad, which is titled “Blessed” and was created in-house, debuted earlier this week and will run until the team’s April 1 game against the Red Sox. Actor Danny Aiello narrates the promo, which begins, “On other teams in other towns, players come and go. But in this city, in this stadium, on this field of dreams -- things are different, special.” Images of SS Derek Jeter, Ps Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte -- the three remaining Yankees from the ’96 World Series-winning team -- are shown achieving personal milestones. 2B Robinson Cano, RF Ichiro Suzuki and P CC Sabathia are later shown as Aiello says, “From the role players and the blown calls to the curtain calls, we bear witness to history, to greatness. Greatness doesn’t come along every day. Postseason heroes aren’t magically born, living legends come once in a lifetime. Maybe we’re lucky, maybe we’re spoiled, maybe we’re blessed. Maybe other teams think it’s their time or maybe not just yet.” Several injured Yankees -- notably 3B Alex Rodriguez, 1B Mark Teixeira and CF Curtis Granderson -- are not featured in the ad, but YES Network VP/On-Air Promotions John Brueckner said, “We made the decision to go with the guys we know are going to be there Opening Day.” Teixeira was in the first cut of the promo, but Brueckner said, “When we heard he was injured we said, ‘Alright, let’s better be safe than sorry and make sure we’re focusing on the guys who are going to be there April 1.'”

I REMEMBER WHEN...: Brueckner credited YES President & CEO Tracy Dolgin for inspiring the spot. He notes Dolgin was speaking with him “about being a Yankees fan and what’s great about being a Yankee.” Brueckner: “He really was thinking about this idea looking back. Speaking to your kids and grandkids the way my father or grandfather would say, ‘I saw Babe Ruth, I saw Mickey Mantle.’” He added, “At some point we’re going to look back and say, ‘I saw Derek Jeter play,’ and one of the words that kept coming up was ‘being blessed.’”

NOT MEANT TO PROP UP RATINGS: YES last season saw its lowest Yankees ratings since it went on the air in '02, but Brueckner said that had no influence on the ad. He noted, “Every season we do one of these spots. Whether it’s the Yankees or the Nets, whenever we’ve got a new season coming up … we’ll have a larger spot that lets everybody know they’re coming back for the season." The fact the Yankees did very little in the offseason in terms of marquee acquisitions also played no role in amping up promotion of the upcoming season. Brueckner: “It’s never an issue of who was signed or who wasn’t signed. It’s always about the team and that sort of faith and hope for the coming season. … Our job on this side is to really create some interest and let our fans know the team they love is back.”
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