Verizon, YES team up for in-market stream
New agreement brings added portability, convenience
The Yankees have the best record in Major League Baseball, and if the regular season ended right now they would be in position to have home-field advantage through the World Series if they won each playoff round thanks to the American League All-Star victory.
Think about that for a minute: What if the 2009 Yankees were to duplicate the feat of the 1923 Yankees, who won the World Series in the same year they opened the previous Yankee Stadium? What if the 27th world championship is just a few months away?
Yankees fans don't want to miss a moment as the possibilities keep building up, and the breakthrough Yankees on YES subscription package has just been made even more widely available in-market with Thursday's announcement that certain Verizon customers also can get it, joining the existing fan base of eligible Cablevision customers.
The YES Network and Verizon are teaming up to bring eligible FiOS TV and FiOS Internet customers the opportunity to view live Yankees games online starting with the 10:10 p.m. ET Friday game at Seattle. As part of a multiyear agreement between Verizon and YES, Verizon Online customers who subscribe to FiOS TV and also are receiving the YES Network in-market programming as part of their TV package will be able to buy access to live, streaming coverage of Yankees games throughout the remainder of the regular season.
The online broadcasts, in high-definition where available, are being offered as a package of the YES Network Yankees games for the remainder of the season for either a one-time price of $29.95 or a monthly package for $19.95 per month. Presale signups are under way for qualifying FiOS customers at MLB.com.
This offering to Verizon customers is in addition to the ongoing availability for eligible Cablevision customers in the YES Network territory. All of Cablevision's Yankees on YES subscribers will be able to watch tonight's 10:10 ET series opener at Seattle, as CC Sabathia goes after his 13th win in pinstripes.
"I'm sure Yankees fans will appreciate it," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who also played in that historic 2002 game that marked the first live stream of a Major League Baseball video broadcast. "You see how they've always come out and supported us before this, and everywhere we go, there are people wearing Yankees gear. Anything that gives fans more access, it's a positive. I think it's great. I'm pretty sure more teams will follow."
In-market YES Network programming is available to FiOS Internet customers in the New York City metropolitan area, upstate New York and portions of New Jersey.
"This broadband offering provides Verizon customers with unprecedented convenience and portability," said Ray Hopkins, COO, of the YES Network. "It comes on the heels of our agreement with Verizon earlier this year, enabling Verizon FiOS TV customers to watch our Yankees telecasts and other Emmy Award-winning YES programming on demand. This is another example of our utilizing new platforms in order to bring Yankees fans closer than ever to their favorite team and players."
Terry Denson, Verizon vice president of FiOS TV content and programming, said the agreement with the YES Network further illustrates Verizon's focus on bringing information and entertainment to its customers through various technologies.
"In addition, for those FiOS TV customers in the YES Network market who also qualify for Verizon's recently launched broadband Wi-Fi service, this partnership will allow them to watch the live games at hotspots in coffee shops, bookstores, hotels and other public areas within the YES in-market footprint," Denson said.
Earlier this season, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and the YES Network struck a deal to provide Yankees fans with in-market access to live streaming games. Cablevision was the first broadband provider to work with MLBAM and YES Network to provide its eligible customers throughout the Yankees home broadcasting territory access to live YES Network Yankees telecasts on their computers. That offering, implemented through an authentication process managed by Cablevision and MLBAM, is available exclusively to Cablevision customers who subscribe to iO TV service and Optimum Online.
Eligible Cablevision subscribers who are interested can review an FAQ for the product and purchase Yankees on YES at Yankees.com, YESNetwork.com and Optimum.net.
"It's an historic day for sports," YES CEO Tracy Dolgin said during the announcement of this package in late June. "For the first time, old and new media are really meeting. It means more convenience and portability for all of our consumers. It's only appropriate that it is happening first for the most historic franchise in sports, the Yankees. ... Now, on this historic day, with the cooperation of the Yankees, Cablevision, YES Network, MLBAM, the YES Network has really broken a logjam by being the first team to introduce in-market streaming to what are the greatest fans in the world."
The Yankees on YES package marked the first such offering by a pro sports team, streaming its live games in markets with local broadcast television deals. The Padres subsequently introduced Padres.TV, a similar offering in the San Diego market. MLB plans for a gradual rollout that ideally includes the majority of clubs by sometime next season.
"These agreements are an important part of our global effort to give fans greater access to our game," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "It is important that fans in local markets have portable flexibility to stay connected to their favorite team if they can't be at the ballpark, and I believe this represents a significant step in that direction."
Yankees fan Mario Pena is an example of those who already have benefited from Yankees on YES over the past month, getting the maximum out of a season that could wind up being treasured forever. Pena is a 22-year-old senior at Binghamton University, majoring in Industrial and System Engineering. He works in the school's audiovisual department, loves technology, and he also happens to love the Yankees.
On the first night of Yankees on YES during that memorable game last month at Minnesota -- when Mariano Rivera retired batting leader Joe Mauer for the final out of that debut broadcast -- Pena was on his laptop at home during the summer at his apartment in Brooklyn's Astoria section, taking part in some baseball history.
"I'm watching it on my laptop," Pena said in an e-mail to MLB.com during that game. "I could watch it on the TV right now, but I decide to get the service for future use and try it tonight since it's the first time.
"It's great. In my case, I got it since I'm a big baseball fan, especially a Cubs/Yankees fan. I already have an MLB.TV account, but I can only hear the game from the local radio station, so I usually listen to John Sterling. But now, with the YES live broadcast it's great. Now I can catch it either while at school or at work. Also, my parents live in Long Island and Queens so I travel a lot. It's always good to know I can count on YES to watch the game."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Yankees reporter Bryan Hoch contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.