Manfred empathizes with Yankees fans’ streaming stress, blames club

Almost all of the 46,707 fans in attendance Sunday night are on their feet as Yankees' Aaron Judge steps up to the plate during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at Yankee Stadium. Judge walked.
Inna Zeyger
Friday September 29, 2023

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Nowadays, finding how to tune into your beloved New York Yankees has become a bewildering chore for fans, with games spread across multiple platforms beyond just the YES Network. In sharp contrast to what was a decade ago, today’s Yankees fans need memberships to ESPN+, Apple TV, Peacock (for Sunday mornings), and Amazon Prime Video just to catch every pinstriped pitch. Not to mention MLB.TV remains a must for fans outside the Yankees’ market.

What was once simple channel surfing has evolved into a complex maze to navigate just to see your squad. The streaming era has fractured viewing access, forcing Yankees fans to fork over more subscriptions to assemble a piecemeal programming puzzle. While greater choice exists, cheaper or easier it’s not.

But such is the price of fandom in modern times. The days of one-stop Yankees game-watching are gone. Today’s tech-driven media landscape compels clubs and platforms to strike deals, meaning more services for fans to manage. It’s the new normal, like it or not. At least more options guarantee you never miss that clutch Yankee moment.

The New York Yankees team at Yankee Stadium during the 2023 Opening Day.
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MLB head admits to Yankees fans’ predicament

Aaron Judge’s epic 62nd homer last season, topping Roger Maris’ hallowed Yankee and American League mark, was shockingly unavailable on the Yankees’ YES Network. Rather, thanks to MLB’s new-fangled “Friday Night Baseball” initiative, the historic blast was viewable solely on Apple TV+.

On a recent installment of “The Rappin’ Reporters Rapcast,” Peter Marchand and biz scribe Johnny Bizness grilled MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on citing how frustrating loyal fanatics attempting to catch every pitch of their cherished clubs. Specifically, the veteran voices aimed to elicit the czar’s takes on the chaos confronting diehard Yankee lovers striving to witness every pinstriped moment in this modern media minefield.

Marchand and Bizness pressed Manfred on potential remedies to this high-tech headache hamstringing Yankees fans looking to enjoy the home team’s games without needing a plethora of streaming services.

rob-manfred
AP

Manfred expressed his concern about fragmentation not being beneficial for fans and emphasized the desire to avoid it. He made a couple of points, noting that Amazon’s involvement was a decision made by the Yankees rather than MLB as a whole. He explained that MLB has historically had the right to a certain number of national games, which would be removed from the Regional Sports Network (RSN). The Apple group of games, he explained, originated from that national package, so it wasn’t considered a significant change.

The MLB chief mentioned that they wouldn’t have embraced the additional fragmentation caused by adding Apple and Peacock if they hadn’t been in a transitional mode. They explained that it was crucial for them to start identifying potential digital partners to adapt to the quickly evolving media landscape.

“And so what I would say to fans about this is: Bear with us. This is a step backward along the road to getting you more access to more games, more easily, with less friction.”

In the current season, the Yankees had a single game broadcasted on Peacock, which was their matchup against the Reds on May 21 at 11:35 a.m. ET. Apple TV+ had four Yankees games in its lineup. ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” featured five games involving the team, and Prime Video collaborated with the YES Network to showcase 20 games without any extra charges.

It’s quite a convoluted mix, isn’t it?

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Manfred empathizes with Yankees fans’ streaming stress, blames club

  1. I have Prime video and live in the Yankee footprint in north east NJ and still don’t get the games on that service because Amazon told me I need to subscribe to mlbtv to get it which I should not have to because I live within the footprint. It is a scam and false advertising. I quit watching the games completely because of that

    1. All of this is a royal pain in the ass.
      Go back to YES, please. How is this beneficial to any fan? Manford, please get your act together.
      Last time I heard keep it simple is the best way. This is just plain out stupid.
      Loyal Yankee fan of 60 years.

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