YES Network Continues To Set The Pace On Team-Owned Stations After 10 Years On The Air
YES Network next Tuesday will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the air, and while other "pro and college teams and leagues ... were inspired by dollar signs to start their own versions of team-owned channels," none of them can "match YES in viewership or value," according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. The net, which was officially launched on March 19, 2002, is valued at $2-3B, making it "worth much more" than the Yankees themselves. YES President & CEO Tracy Dolgin, who has held his position since '04, yesterday acknowledged that the network "benefits from the team's commitment to consistently contending." Best notes that helps "not only with advertising but, more importantly, in securing the subscriber fees that are the bulk of every regional sports network's revenues." YES is "believed to command about $3 per household per month." YES generally gets "good reviews for its technical expertise and innovation, but it has been rightly criticized for its periodic lapses into clumsy, non-journalistic behavior." However, Dolgin was "unapologetic about the Yankees-centric point of view, saying flatly that YES 'is a homer network' like all regional sports networks, team-owned or not." He said that does not mean ignoring "negative developments ... especially in an information age in which 'even if you wanted to, you can't hide the facts.'" But Best notes bad news, "like good news, is discussed through a Yankees-fan prism." Dolgin said that the net "makes its own decisions but admitted the Yankees seek input, as most teams do with their local rights-holders." Dolgin said that YES' task in the next five years "is to not grow complacent and 'keep reinventing ourselves'" (NEWSDAY, 3/6).