The YES Network, the regional sports network majority controlled by Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, live tweeted commentary of classic Yankees games, the latest effort to create new programming amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The network on March 30 offered Twitter commentary of the Yankees’ 2003 American League Championship Series Game 7 victory over the Boston Red Sox, and the team’s 1996 World Series-clinching victory over the Atlanta Braves.
In the pair of games, former Yankees and current YES analysts David Cone and John Flaherty, along with YES president of programming John Filippelli provided live tweet commentary in synchronization with televised re-airs of the games on YES, creating a two-screen experience for fans. Flaherty was on the 2003 Yankees team, while Cone was part of the 1996 squad.
The initiative represents the latest move in the RSN’s larger and ongoing “YES, We’re Here” campaign in which it it feverishly trying to create alternate material while there are no games happening for the Yankees, the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets, or Major League Soccer’s NYCFC, the three primary teams YES shows.
Over the past several weeks, YES has also developed more than two dozen interview and discussion segments involving network on-air talent and various sports figures, covering a wide variety of subjects, that have been shown both on TV and online, as well as through social media portals.
The alternate content has been developed while most YES employees, like so many others around the sports industry and all of society, are working remotely due to the public health crisis.
“Our goal is to remain relevant, engage people, and bring people together,” Filippelli said. “We’re trying to give comfort where we can in an extreme situation, and this has allowed us to showcase our creativity.”
YES is also relying heavily on other archival content such as other classic Yankees and Nets games, and re-airs of its long-running CenterStage interview program to fill the ongoing gap with no live games. CenterStage episodes are also now being offered in podcast form.
“We’re going to continue to adapt on the fly,” Filippelli said. “This situation requires to be nimble and quick, and we’re all trying to figure this out and get things done. But we want to be fun and be entertaining.”
The Yankees last summer completed a re-acquisition of majority control of YES that involved several other partners, including Amazon and Sinclair Broadcast Group.