The Brooklyn Nets’ scrimmage against the Utah Jazz Monday was set for their usual home of YES Network, but only on tape delay. The initial logic to that was probably because the New York Yankees were set to face the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:05 p.m. Eastern, a start that would have been before the end of the Nets’ scrimmage. But even after the Yankees’ game was postponed (thanks to a wave of positive COVID-19 tests from the Miami Marlins, who had just played the Phillies Sunday), YES elected to televise their simulcast of ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show instead of the Nets’ scrimmage.
And that led to some angry tweets. And that was especially with the NBA TV broadcast of the Nets’ scrimmage blacked out in YES territory and with the streaming option of Fox Sports Go not working at first (that issue was reportedly fixed later in the scrimmage). Here are some of those tweets:
— Tyler Young (@TylerMYoung2) July 27, 2020
Guys it’s not showing on the app. Anyway to fix this?
— G PACK VOL. 2 (@TheDoppelgangaz) July 27, 2020
Thanks for encouraging the fans to stream the game illegally. Great job by you guys @NetsOnYES
— KKH (@KKH_Milan) July 27, 2020
Then “Fox Sport Go” isn’t even working y’all need to switch channels @BrooklynNets
— #0urMVP🚀(HOU|NETS|NYG) (@EliteTheKing_) July 27, 2020
Whens the contract with yes end? What a joke
— DroneStake (@DroneStake) July 27, 2020
This also comes after YES cut away from the ending of a previous Nets’ scrimmage to get to their Yankees’ pre-game show. And it’s somewhat understandable why Nets fans are upset. But it’s also not that surprising that YES (which stands for the Yankee Sports and Entertainment Network, and which saw the Yankees regain majority control of it in March 2019) would prioritize the Yankees over the Nets, especially when it’s a regular-season Yankees game versus a Nets’ exhibition. And even prioritizing Kay’s (the voice of Yankees’ TV broadcasts) talk show over a Nets’ scrimmage maybe has some logic for a Yankees-oriented network; it’s debatable from an overall viewership perspective, as the Nets’ contest is actual sports rather than a simulcast of a sports radio show, but Kay’s show certainly had plenty of Yankees content Monday (as it often does, and as you’d expect given both his connections to the Yankees and their importance in the New York market).
But if you’re going to make those kinds of programming decisions, it’s worth having working streaming solutions for those who do care about what you’re not showing on TV. And it’s also maybe worth loosening blackout restrictions on the national broadcast if your network isn’t going to show their own broadcast until later. Handling this the way YES did certainly got plenty of fans aggrieved at them. And while not showing some scrimmage action doesn’t necessarily reflect the totality of the YES-Nets relationship, this approach does further illustrate to the Nets and their fans how much lower they are than the Yankees on YES’ list of programming priorities.