Is Michael Kay calling Friday game on Apple TV+?

Apple TV wants Michael Kay

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The Yankees have tried their best to make a trade with Apple TV to telecast Friday’s Yankees game on YES. But Apple TV and MLB have turned down the offer. Still, reports suggest Michael Kay is running for a loaner deal and he may call the Friday night as Aaron Judge gets close to Roger Maris’ record of 61 home runs.

The Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) is a sister concern focused on the New York franchise. Friday’s game will only be available on Apple TV. Even though it’s a paid service, Apple TV has been showing Friday night MLB games for free. Stephen Nelson, Hunter Pence, and Katie Nolan, who are the play-by-play announcers, are scheduled to be on the call.

The Yankees offered production assistance with sportscasters Michael Kay, David Cone, and Paul O’Neill to Apple TV as part of the deal.

While YES officials remain hopeful that MLB and Apple will agree to allow YES to air the game alongside Apple TV’s national stream, sources with knowledge of Apple and MLB’s thinking are still not optimistic.

Sources say that YES would also be open to just airing Apple’s broadcast to make it easier for Yankees fans to watch. This would let Apple keep its exclusive status all over the country

Even if Michael Kay was involved, the game would still not be on YES. His role hasn’t been decided yet, but he would probably make the Judge calls since he is the voice of the Yankees on TV.

Michael Kay also hosts “Kay-Rod” on SNB on the eve of Sunday games. He and former Yankee great Alex Rodriguez are on the air during the broadcasts.

Fox Sports also expressed interest in such a deal, but the conversation did not progress.

So far, Apple and MLB officials have resisted the proposals, as is their contractual right. They struck the agreement to see if baseball could expand Apple’s service base. As Aaron Judge is in a historic record chase, the Friday game is going to attract record viewers to Apple TV.

But the telecast of Judge’s at-bats only on Apple TV is likely to result in protests. There is a widespread expectation that such a monumental event in the history of baseball should be available to all distribution channels overriding commercial interests.

The Yankees were trying to make a trade with an expectation that Apple will recognize the significance of the event and let them put the game on YES, which usually broadcast the Yankees’ games to New York fans. So far, Apple TV sees Friday night games a money spinner that goes with its commercial expectations.

The Friday game has the potential to lead to a massive expansion in the viewer base of Apple. It may give it leverage even if MLB won’t agree to expand the deal.

Even though it’s likely that more people will watch it on Friday, will the same people watch it again in a week? And it’s worth all the bad feelings?

This season, Amazon Prime Video has 21 Yankees games that can only be seen there. Apple, on the other hand, only shows each team a few times.

Baseball fans tend to watch games close to home and are used to the network and broadcasters. YES remains a top choice for New York fans.

It seems the Yankees and YES are desperate to arrive at a deal with Apple TV. But the other side seems to be interested to have Michael Kay in its ranks.

Do you think it is fair for Apple TV to deny YES a chance to telecast Friday’s game?

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