New Yorkers will see a fewer New York Yankee games on local broadcast as the
games shift over to CBS's owned-and-operated WCBS.
The start-up cable sports network YES will sub-license 'at least' 20 games
per year to WCBS beginning next season.
Those include the team's match-ups on Memorial Day and the Fourth of
When now-rival regional sports channel MSG Network controlled all Yankees TV
rights, it sub-licensed 50 games for local broadcast, most recently to Fox
Fox, of course, owns 40% of MSG Network and is losing big-time now that those
rights have been snapped up by YES.
The Yankees have merged with the NBA team New Jersey Nets and sold all local
TV rights to a venture led by Leo Hindery.
Terms of the WCBS deal were not disclosed, but one New York media executive
said that the station is paying less than $10 million per year and give a few
avails each game for YES to resell.
The broadcast deal is a sidelight to YES's real effort, which is to line up
New York market cable systems to carry the main network at a much higher license
fee than MSG was charging.
Shrinking the number of games licensed for broadcast gives Hindery something
to dangle in front of operators but risks angering politicians annoyed that so
few games will now be available for free over the air. - John M. Higgins