Yankees fans will soon be the first in baseball to buy games streamed on broadband to computers and wireless devices within the team’s local market, according to executives briefed on the pending deal but not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The agreement between the Yankees’ YES Network and Major League Baseball ends a logjam that has prevented teams from making their games available on the Internet within their designated markets. Some teams have wanted to do it, but financial arrangements between them and baseball could not be reached.
Teams stand to gain a new source of revenue, from the millions of broadband users around the country who are not sitting in front of their televisions but are in offices and other locations with a laptop or a wireless device.
The New York market is obviously tantalizing financially for the already hugely successful YES network, but could bring added revenue to other teams. YES’s territory includes 7.5 million households throughout New York City, Long Island, large swaths of New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.
Fans within the market can, of course, see Yankee games on YES or Channel 9.
But they have not been able to get them inside the market on MLB.tv, MLB.com’s broadband service, which carries live out-of-market games. The home teams’ games are blacked out locally to protect the rights of regional sports networks and TV stations.
The agreement between the Yankees’ YES Network and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which controls the Internet rights of all 30 teams, will let fans inside the New York market buy a subscription to Yankees games. They will be able to watch on computers, laptops and other devices, giving the games a portability they have not had.
The first carrier to sign up is Cablevision, which will share revenue with YES and M.L.B.A.M. Fans can buy the in-market Yankee games only if they already subscribe to the expanded basic service on Cablevision that includes YES. The Yankees’ cable network is pursuing similar deals with other local cable operators, like Time Warner, and telecommunications services, like Verizon.
With the Yankees deal complete, other teams are expected to follow.
The Yankees’ service is supposed to start sometime this season and follows quickly on Cablevison’s recent renewal of its YES contract. A price was not available.
A YES spokesman declined to comment and M.L.B. executives were not available for comment. Jim Maiella, a Cablevision spokesman, said, “We have nothing to announce at this time, and we typically would not comment on this kind of offering until it was in front of our customers.” A Yankees spokesman did not return calls seeking a comment.