SBJ/September 25 - October 1, 2006/This Weeks News

YES and MLBAM testing wireless game MVP vote

YES Network and Major League Baseball Advanced Media are testing a wireless application this week that will let cell-phone users pick a “Player of the Game” via any carrier.

The test will occur for three days this week when the New York Yankees play the Baltimore Orioles in Yankee Stadium. Following this three-day, late-season test, YES Network hopes to launch it for the full season next year, complete with advertising.

YES Network became intrigued by the application following MLBAM’s success with it during the World Cup, when it produced the “T-Mobile Man of the Match” on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2., which sponsors YES Network’s traditional “Player of the Game” feature on the channel, will be the featured sponsor on this week’s wireless feature, though it is an unpaid sponsorship.

The experiment is described as a bare-bones trial designed to gauge fan interest in such an application. There’s no incentive for viewers to vote this week, no prizes are given or sweepstakes planned. That should change next year.

“On the eve of the postseason, interest in the Yankees is at a feverish pitch, and this trial is the latest in our efforts to utilize emerging technologies to enhance the viewer experience,” said Ray Hopkins, COO of YES Network.

Starting with Tuesday night’s game, four “Player of the Game” candidates will flash on-screen during YES Network’s telecast. Cell-phone users will be instructed to call a five-digit number, at which point they will be instructed to press a number for their choice.

Standard text-messaging rates apply, with all revenue going to the carrier.

Voting will close three minutes after the game’s final out. YES Network will announce the winner before the postgame show.

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