SBJ/20090921/Media

YES to have new social-networking apps on site in time for playoffs through OneSite deal

YES Network has struck a one-year deal with Oklahoma City-based OneSite Inc. to develop a suite of social-networking applications for yesnetwork.com.

The regional sports network will debut the added community functions on its site in time for the MLB postseason. The additions will include Facebook-type activity feeds, profiles, video and photo sharing, fan blogging and group formation. A “My YES” element, when clicked upon, will open a second navigation bar within the site that contains links to many of the key social-networking functions.

The YES deal with OneSite follows a significant relaunch of the network’s entire site earlier this year. MLB Advanced Media, which hosts yesnetwork.com and has partnered with YES on several digital media initiatives, aided the network in the latest deal.

The RSN will add activity feeds,
fan blogging and more.

“We’re not trying to replicate Facebook, but we are attempting to create an environment where fans can convey all their passion and engage in a deep two-screen experience,” said Michael Spirito, YES vice president of business development and digital media.

OneSite’s other clients include the Cleveland Cavaliers, World Wrestling Entertainment and “American Idol.”

“You still have to be able to connect with fans out on the external social networks, and that will happen here, where people will be able to share some content outward. But there is no beating the advantages of having a destination built around your content and your personalities,” said Thad Martin, OneSite president. “The upside with regard to both controlling the user experience and monetization is obvious.”

The social-networking area will not carry a launch sponsor but will be advertiser supported.

YES had originally hoped to have the social-networking component of its site rebuilt earlier in the season, but that effort was delayed in part due to the network’s ongoing work with MLBAM on baseball’s first in-market live game streaming, which debuted in July with “Yankees on YES” in partnership with Cablevision.

While YES Network’s game coverage of the New York Yankees will end in early October with the conclusion of the regular season, Spirito said he sees the new offering as a 12-month product. “This will be a central gathering spot during the playoffs and hot stove period,” he said.

The network also airs live games of the New Jersey Nets, and the social-networking functions will be available in and around Nets-related content on the site, as well.

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