Archive for YES Network
When the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, one thing that really disappointed me was the traditional offset camera angle. A number of clubs had started using a directly behind the pitcher camera angle that, in addition to make balls and strikes easier to see, really brought a pitcher’s stuff to life. We got to see fastballs moving in ways we had never before seen on television, breaking balls were breaking both side-to-side and up-and-down, changeups fading away from hitters of the opposite hand … it’s great. The directly behind the pitcher angle gets two thumbs way up from me.
The YES Network used a traditional offset angle over the last few years — check out the gallery above and you’ll see the angle changing slightly from 2009-2012 — but this year they have it pretty close to centered behind the pitcher with the rubber and home plate nearly in line. It’s not a perfect behind the plate view like the Braves, Red Sox, Twins, or Cardinals have, but it’s far better than the traditional offset look. It allows us to see Mariano Rivera‘s cutter hook around the plate for a backdoor strike three better than ever before, for example.
So, while not much has gone right for the Yankees early this season, at least we’ve got a cool new center field camera that makes the strike zone and a pitch’s movement easier to see than ever before. I don’t think YES can raise the camera any higher to get a true in-line look — I guess they would have to put the camera on top of the concession stand in center field? — so this is probably the best we’ll get. It’s much better than the offset look in my opinion and I’m glad we got it, even if it came later rather than sooner.
Michael Kay will continue to be the primary play-by-play voice of the Yankees after signing a new multi-year agreement with the YES Network, according to a release. Kay has been with YES since the network launched in 2002 and he’s not leaving anytime soon. No word on the other announcers, if you’re wondering.
Early last week, an agreement was reached allowing News Corp. to purchase 49% — potentially as much as 80% down the road — of the YES Network from investors like Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the calendar year. Here’s some more on the transaction, courtesy of Richard Sandomir…
- The Yankees will retain control of all Yankees-related content on the network. The announcers will continue to be biased — “We tell our people if you want to be bipartisan and fair, don’t work for YES,” said team president Randy Levine to Sandomir — and long-running features like Yankeeography and Yankees Classics aren’t going anywhere.
- FOX, which is owned by News Corp., will bring some programming to the network however. It doesn’t sound like a SportsCenter-esque, nightly sports news show is in the cards though.
- The Yankees will receive $420M from News Corp. to keep the team on YES through 2042. They’re getting half of that now and the other half in three years. Just think, they’re trimming payroll in less than 16 months.
- Just as we heard the other day, Sandomir says the Steinbrenners are unlikely to sell the team in the wake of the agreement. The team continues to make a fortune and, perhaps more importantly, the family would get slapped with a massive tax bill should they sell.
The Yankees officially announced an agreement that allows News Corp. to acquire a 49% stake (which could reportedly grow to 80%) in the YES Network from investors like Goldman Sachs, NJ Holdings, and Providence Equity yesterday. The deal is still pending MLB approval and is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. The sale price indicates that the network is worth approximately $3 billion right now, meaning it’s likely more valuable than the team itself. Here’s more on the transaction courtesy of Darren Rovell, Andy Fixmer, and Scott Soshnick…
- The Yankees will sell 9% of their stake in YES, lowering their share to 25% and earning the club a whopping $270M. The team might also receive a $400-500M payment separate from the rights agreement, so think of it like a signing bonus.
- As part of the transaction, the Yankees have extended their agreement with YES to ensure the network will broadcast games through 2042. YES currently pays the team $85M annually for broadcast rights, but escalators will push that to $350M annually (!) by the end of the new agreement.
- Goldman, NJ Holdings, and Providence will retain some stake in YES but will have the option to sell the remainder to the Yankees and News Corp. in four years for a portion of the predetermined market value of $3.8 billion. That’s what everyone expects the network to be worth in 2016.
- Although there has been speculation (including by me) this deal with News Corp. is an indication the Steinbrenner family will look to sell the team down the line, the reporting trio all say this move puts them in better position to hold on to the club long-term.
- Brian Heyman has official statements from Hal Steinbrenner and others, so check that out if you’re interested.
Nov. 19th: News Corp. would acquire 49% of YES in the transaction according to Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick, but there would be the option to increase their stake to as much as 80% in 3-5 years. I can’t help but wonder if that option is an indication that the Steinbrenners have their eye on selling the club down the line. The network, meanwhile, is worth a bit more than $3 billion, meaning it is likely more valuable than the team itself. In-freakin’-sanity.
Nov. 15th: Via Matthew Futterman: News Corp. is closing in on a deal to purchase a minority stake in the YES Network. They have their eye on the nearly 40% share currently owned by long-time investors Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners. The Yankees own about one-third of the network and aren’t selling any portion of their share.
Last month we learned that the team was looking for investors to buy out Goldman and Providence. News Corp. is a monster, the world’s second largest media group in terms of revenue. They have stakes in FOX, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal among many other media outlets. Futterman says YES is likely to raise the monthly fees (which currently lag behind other regional networks) it receives from cable providers when their contracts expire in the coming years. In other words, the deal will make the Yankees a ton of money and your cable bill might be slightly higher in the future. Business as usual, really.
Via Richard Sandomir: The Yankees are looking for investors to buy out their YES Network ownership partners. The team is not selling its stake — Yankee Global Enterprises owns about one-third of the network — but is looking for purchasers to buy stakes currently held by Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity, and others.
“We want to keep our options open and see what the marketplace is … It’s important to find out what the price would be out in the marketplace and if there is someone comfortable with paying it,” said team president Randy Levine, who recently met with FOX executives along with Hal Steinbrenner and Goldman Sachs partner Gerald Cardinale. Investors like Goldman usually flip their stakes in companies after a few years, but they’ve stuck with YES because the network is a money-making machine. The Yankees went through a similar process back in 2007.
Marakovits previously worked as an anchor for SNY and covered the Yankees for 1050 ESPN Radio in 2010. She’s also been a sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers, covered the Phillies as a beat writer for 950 ESPN Radio, and contributed to WFAN in the past. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_Marakovits.
Via Neil Best, Kim Jones will not be back as the YES Network’s clubhouse/sideline reporter in 2012. They offered her a contract, but she’s decided to pursue other opportunities after seven seasons on the job. I enjoyed Kim’s reporting and wish her the best, but I sure hope this means a lot more Jack Curry.
For the ninth year in a row, the YES Network was the most-watched regional sports network in the country in terms of total day delivery in its home market. That’s a fancy way of saying more New Yorkers watched YES every day in 2011 than any other city watched its regional network(s). You can click through for all the stats, but I’ll save you time by saying they basically blew everyone out of the water. They were first overall by a wide margin.
And just for the record, we are taking full credit for that 52% increase in YESNetwork.com traffic. What’d you think that banner up there was for, aesthetics?
Report: Lou Piniella set to join YES Network team
An old familiar face is getting ready to return to the Yankee family. One-time Yankee player and manager Lou Piniella will be rejoining the Yankees as a spring training instructor and YES Network analyst, Bob Raissman of The Daily News reported yesterday. Piniella, who served as a San Francisco Giants’ consultant last year, wanted to stay in baseball but also wanted to be close to his home in Tampa. The Yanks were the perfect fit.
According to Raissman’s report, Piniella will do “a limited number of appearances” on YES. The News scribe expects the former skipper to be in the booth come Opening Day in the Trop, and he’ll do a handful of other series throughout the season. The Piniella deal isn’t final yet, but a YES Network spokesperson confirmed to Bryan Hoch that the two sides were working toward a contract. It’ll be good to hear Sweet Lou, who served in the MSG broadcast booth in 1989, back on TV.
Rule tweaks dominate new MLB Basic Agreement
Later this week, the MLB Owners will ratify the new Major League Baseball Basic Agreement, and as the Players Association approved it today, it will become the law of the baseball land. We’ve heard a lot about the changes to the luxury tax, the amateur draft and international spending. Now, courtesy of the Associated Press, we learn about the myriad minor rule changes as well.
Many of these rule changes are common-sense. The Yankees, who should have played the Wild Card Rays this year in the playoffs but did not, would under a rule that allows teams from the same division to meet in the Division Series. MLB, as was reported earlier this fall, will expand instant replay to include “trapped” catches and some more fair/foul calls. The All Star Break will now be four days, and the game may move to Wednesday beginning in 2013 as well.
For players, MLB has banned tattoos with corporate logos and obscene nicknames written on equipment that may be visible to fans at the stadium or at home. Furthermore, David Ortiz will no longer be allowed to whine about his RBI total as players are banned from requesting scoring changes from the official scorer. Only MLB may hear an appeal now.
My favorite new rule change concerns uniforms though. Here’s how the AP describes it:
Quick uniform number switches will be a thing of the past. Players must tell the commissioner’s office by July 31 of the preceding year if they want a new jersey. That is, unless “the player (or someone on his behalf) purchases the existing finished goods inventory of apparel containing the player’s jersey number.” As in, every replica jersey, jacket, T-shirt, mug and anything else with a number that’s anywhere in stock.
How utterly vindictive.
Finally, one popular team practice has been eliminated as well: Clubs may no longer summon Minor Leaguers to the Majors without activating them. In other words, no more will top prospects be allowed to watch the rest of the regular season unfold in late September from the bench. The Yanks have done this in the past with their youngsters ranging from Derek Jeter to Jesus Montero and beyond. All told, though, these rule changes seem fairly reasonable to me.