YES Ratings Are Down – Duh, It’s Not The Yankees Fault

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

YES ratings are declining, and there shouldn’t be any mystery as to why. Here’s a clue, and it has nothing to do with the winning Yankees.

YES ratings (Yankees Entertainment Sports Network), according to a report by Bob Raissman, of the New York Daily News are down 10 percent as of July 30, according to Nielsen (via Forbes).

In the long-range of things and the Yankee’s treasury, no big deal. Except that for reasons known only to them, YES officials picked away at Raissman, trying every which way they could think of to spin the story a different way.

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

One thing no one can say, though, is that more people are then ever are tuned into Yankee games in 2020.

We can make a valid argument claiming that the uniqueness of a season being played through a pandemic should be enough to garner interest.

Plus, the entertaining spectacle of watching every at-bat by Aaron Judge, or each pitch thrown by Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in a shortened 60-game season – should be enough to at least keep YES ratings steady.

YES Ratings Down: Drilling Down On Why

But going in that direction carries you off base when the real reason has nothing to do with the Yankees winning or losing.

Remember, YES ratings (up or down) have their foundation in subscribers who “sign up” with their local cable source. You or I can’t call YES to say; I want to watch the Yankees, sign me up.

Now, between DirecTV (16 million) and the DISH Network (12 million), there are 25 million potential subscribers to YES.

But there’s a problem because DirecTV’s subscribers (according to Statista) are declining from a high of 21 million as recently as 2017 to where they are today.

Fewer subscribers = fewer YES fee payers = lower YES ratings.

Plus, here’s the kicker. The DISH Network doesn’t even offer YES to its subscribers. I know, I’m one of them.

I knew that when I dumped DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) and their $200 a month bill that included YES and SNY, the Mets Regional Sports Network (RSN), in favor of $100 per month with DISH.

I figured I was okay though because DISH offers MLB Extra Innings this year for $99, and pro-rated I was still coming out ahead.

I also knew that any YES network Yankees telecasts are blacked out by MLB. But I figured I would live with the announcers on the Yankees opponents RSN, and still see the Yankees play.

Wrong, those games are blacked out by MLB as well.

YES – It’s All About The Money

The salient point, though, is this. YES ratings are down, or at least not rising, because they are eliminating vast numbers of potential viewers (like myself and others).

With no access to YES, what else can happen?

After an extended brouhaha between Comcast, a primary New York City cable provider, and the YES Network, the two settled a highly charged rate dispute in time for YES to be back on the air by March 31 – Opening Day at the time.

MLB and ESPN - Partners Made In Heaven
MLB and ESPN – Partners Made In Heaven

A rumored merger between AT&T and DISH would, of course, make the who matter a moot point.

If YES ratings continue to plummet, you would think it behooves YES to make its fees more attractive to carriers.

That is, of course, if we assume the owners and shareholders of the New York Yankees give a damn about the chance to make a few more dollars. Or, so the execs wouldn’t have to answer to negative press from writers like Raissman.

Screw ’em all though – tomorrow the Yankees-Red Sox game is on FOX and Sunday’s game is on ESPN.

Still, I’d rather join ’em than beat ’em – if only I had a place to go to help with YES ratings.

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Author: stevecontursi

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