Amazon announced in the first week of March 2020 that it would stream Yankees games on its popular Prime portal.
The deal is the natural progression to the unanimous vote cast in November by MLB team owners. They voted to permit local games’ streaming in what is called ‘in-market streaming.’
Amazon’s stake in YES
Amazon was one of the many groups that owns a stake at YES Network almost a year ago. The purchase paved the way for the current agreement that allows Yankee fans to watch live games on their phones, tablets or laptops without the need for a cable subscription. After Disney sold the 80 percent stake it had in YES Network that was valued to be $3.47 billion, Amazon bought a minority stake in the network. Disney sold the stake to an investor group which included, apart from Amazon, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, RedBird Capital and Yankees.
With viewership dropping, teams are looking at new channels to reach fans. While the games that will be streamed on Amazon will be produced by YES Network, the streaming service simulcasts feature new technology that affords a“more immersive experience,’’ as per the CEO of YES Network, Jon Litner. According to Litner, streaming technology will enable viewers to interact instead of watching the games passively.
The technology is said to be similar to the one used by Amazon for the English Premier League and NFL.
Who can watch the live streaming of Yankee games?
During the 2020 regular season of MLB, the 21 New York games will be available to users of Prime Video in four states within the home footprint of Bronx Bombers’ including northeast Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey (north and central).
Amazon Prime Video is set to obtain non-exclusive rights related to Yankees matchups as part of their partnership with YES Network. The games that will air on Prime Video would be simulcasts of those produced by YES Network that are aired on CW-affiliated PIX11 apart from other Yankees telecast partners.
Real-time access to data
The Amazon Prime Video live streaming of Yankees games will feature the cutting edge X-Ray technology of Amazon. This technology provides live access to fans who are viewing the games on their iOS mobile, Fire TV and Android to player and team details, in-game stats, and play-by-play real time data while watching.
While Yankees games’ Prime Video distribution is limited, the partnership is reflective of the continued interest of the internet giant in securing sports media rights. Amazon has streamed for the past three seasons, the “Thursday Night Football” of NFL worldwide on Prime Video. The company also has entered into agreements to showcase Premier League soccer and UEFA Champions League games in the U.K. and Germany respectively.
In a statement, Yankee Global Enterprises’ CEO, Hal Steinbrenner said that while they understand the different ways that fans consume content, the company’s unique deal with Amazon is an exciting development in the live sports arena.