Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the YES Network have completed a long-expected deal with Amazon in which the e-commerce and streaming video giant will show 21 Yankees games this season on Amazon Prime Video.
The move to add live Yankees games to the streaming platform has been anticipated for months, particularly after a deal last summer in which the club regained majority control of the regional sports network with the aid of several investors including Amazon in a deal valuing the YES Network at $3.47bn.
MLB then moved last fall to allow each of its 30 teams to sell their own separate streaming deals in local markets for their non-RSN games ahead of the 2020 season. The Yankees-Amazon alignment, thus, is one of the major outgrowths of those newly expanded local team rights.
Amazon Prime members in the Yankees’ local-market footprint stretching from northeast Pennsylvania across north and central New Jersey, parts of New York state, and into Connecticut will be able to see the 21 scheduled games at no additional cost to users. The 21 games will be simulcasts of Yankees games televised on WPIX-TV in New York and other over-the-air partners.
As a result, the deal represents non-exclusive rights for Amazon, but still marks historic new territory for the distribution of live MLB games.
“We understand that fans are consuming content in a variety of different ways, and we believe our unique partnership with Amazon represents an exciting development in the realm of live sports,” said Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees managing general partner and chief executive of Yankees Global Enterprises.
The first Yankees game to be shown on Amazon Prime Video will be April 17 against the Cincinnati Reds. Data such as in-game statistics, player and team details, and play-by-play information will be accessible to users within the Prime Video productions.
“As consumption habits among Yankees fans continue to evolve, we’re embracing new and innovative technologies to enhance the viewer experience,” said Jon Litner, YES Network chief executive.