YES Network putting up big streaming numbers for Yankees
YES Network has seen a sizable jump in live streaming audiences for New York Yankees games so far this season, an indicator of the rising fan interest in the club.
The RSN, majority owned by 21st Century Fox, has surpassed 1 million minutes in streaming consumption for 16 of its first 30 Yankees game broadcasts this season, as well as 10 of the last 13 games through May 9. The YES Network hit that mark only four times during the entire 2017 season, with the first such occurrence on Aug. 18.
Specific figures for average per-game streaming audiences or consumption were not disclosed. But the network said its per-game average for minutes streamed is up 116 percent compared to 2017, and its unique per-game audience is up 52 percent. The Yankees’ 3-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox on May 8 set a record for the most minutes streamed for any individual Yankees game on YES.
The digital growth outpaces the strong start to the season for YES Network for its linear broadcasts, where its average April rating in the New York market of 3.71 was up 9 percent from last year and marked the best beginning to a Yankees season since 2012.
YES Network’s streaming figures represent some of the first aggregated numbers publicly released since the arrival in 2016 of authenticated in-market streaming in baseball through Fox RSNs after several years of negotiation. Live in-market game streaming within baseball did not hit critical mass until last year with the arrival of the NBC Sports and AT&T Sports Networks RSNs and NESN last year. Twenty-seven of 30 MLB clubs now offer the service.
“We’re seeing the streaming really becoming a habit and a fundamental part of the viewers’ daily consumption patterns,” said Jon Litner, YES Network president, who referenced the Yankees’ recent run that had seen them win 17 of 18 games through May 9. “Fans have continued to rally around this team, and the digital growth we’ve had is one of the clearest indicators of that,” he added.
YES Network is also seeing significant growth around its streaming-specific sponsorships, with revenue up 40 percent from last year thanks in part to the arrival of companies such as T-Mobile, MillerCoors, Lexus and Apple.