Yankees YES network ratings plummet – welcome to Major League Baseball 2020

Yankees YES ratings plummet - why? (Photo: Forbes)

The Yankees, despite winning 103 games last season, took an astounding 17.6% drop in the viewing of their games on YES. It’s not their fault, though…

The Yankees appear to be in a panic mode as they see ratings drop dramatically from 2018-2019 in games televised by their child YES Network.

The impending deal with bemouth Amazon is enough to send chills running down the spine of any Yankees fan – and what it will mean to everyday access to Yankees’ regular-season games.

Yankees and YES – fitting the square peg in a round hole

But the fact is the Yankees, along with Major League Baseball (MLB) itself, may merely be trying to put a square peg in a round hole when they seek ways to increase television viewership.

Even as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred continues his controversial quest to reduce the time it takes to complete a major league game.

MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred (Photo: Sporting News)
MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred (Photo: Sporting News)

But in the end, what does it matter? A slicing of ten minutes is supposed to mean something to fans?

Much like NFL games, major league contests are a three-hour commitment of a fan’s time -give or take a minute or two.

The inconvenient marriage of baseball and television

The similarities end there, though. Football has a clock and three downs to continue possession, while the only watch on baseball is three outs.

A half-inning can take two minutes or twenty minutes on the viewer’s clock.

Hold on if you think I’m going there. The absence of a governing clock is the beauty of baseball contained in the theory that a single game could last – forever in time and space.

But we’re talking about sitting down in our favorite chair or couch – and today on our laptop or phone – to watch a Yankees game on YES or any regional sports network.

Baseball affords us a minimum of eighteen opportunities between innings during a telecast to change the channel, get up to pursue another activity or chore, or spend some time with that ignored special someone.

Yankees – Too much of a good thing

And that, of course, doesn’t include interruptions (i.e., commercials) during pitching changes and replays.

The entire episode with YES is odd not only because the Yankees are a winning team, and we can only imagine what’s going on with the ratings in Detroit, but because baseball is (regretfully) not conducive to television.

David Cone - YES Analyst (Photo: YES Network/E. H. Wallop)
David Cone – YES Analyst (Photo: YES Network/E. H. Wallop)

Radio? – Absolutely. And there’s nothing better than sitting on the back deck on a warm summer night sucking on a beer – while the world and the day’s stress stands still – listening to the strum of ball one, just a little off the plate.

And before anyone goes there, the YES crew of broadcasters that includes the banter between David Cone and Paul O’Neill is among the best in baseball.

I consider myself an avid fan of the Yankees, and except for West Coast games, always tuned – but only for a portion of the televised games on YES.

I can’t remember the last time I saw the winning run cross the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of a game played at Yankee Stadium when I tuned in from the first pitch of the game. And I don’t suspect I am alone.

Remembering we are trying to put a square peg in a round hole, there are a few things YES and other regional networks can try to “liven things up.”

Changes? Mmm, not so easy…

Why not, for instance, in the middle of the second, fifth, and seventh innings – instead of a commercial offer a profile on – take your pick of any player in the game that day?

Baseball, TV, Ads - a bad marriage (Photo: Youtube)
Baseball, TV, Ads – a bad marriage (Photo: Youtube)

And in between the third, sixth, and eighth innings – charge the analysts with recapping the game from a player’s perspective and what might be coming up in the game?

Less is more. Fewer commercials translate into increased viewership (ratings), which in turn become a higher asking price for each ad. What’s so hard about that?

I can’t imagine how a nineteen-year-old Yankees fan, with all that pent-up energy, can be expected to sit through a 3:10 or even a 2:38 game on Television as it’s presented to us today.

At 72, I can recall the days when less was more – and what a treat it was to watch televised games on weekends only. Overexposure is ruining YES just like MTV ruined Boy George. Why is anyone surprised?

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.