Some people on Twitter got very excited when it was announced this morning that Amazon Prime Video would be streaming 21 Yankees games this season. However, much of that excitement was quickly snuffed out when it turned out that the 21 Yankees games would only be available to Amazon subscribers in the YES Network footprint.
Here are the key details, per Variety.
However, the live streams of 21 New York Yankees games during the MLB’s 2020 regular season will be available only to Prime Video users in four states that comprise the Bronx Bombers’ home-team footprint: New York, Connecticut, northeast Pennsylvania, and north and central New Jersey.
Amazon Prime Video is getting non-exclusive localized rights to the Yankees matchups through the agreement with YES Network. The games on Prime Video will be simulcasts of games produced by YES for airing on CW-affiliated PIX11 and other over-the-air partners for Yankees telecasts.
Yankees games on Prime Video will feature Amazon’s X-Ray technology, which allows fans who are watching on Android, iOS mobile, and Fire TV to access live in-game stats, team and player details, and real-time play-by-play information as they watch.
And here is the full schedule of games that will be available on Amazon, per AA’s Shlomo Sprung.
#Yankees announce that these 21 games will be featured on Amazon Prime Video this season. Games will include x-ray, next gen video technology that'll provide in-game stats and real-time play-by-play info.
"There will be simulcasts of games produced by YES for airing on Pix 11." pic.twitter.com/lVbuRdjURc
— Shlomo Sprung (@SprungOnSports) March 3, 2020
During the Fox/Disney sale, Disney was forced to sell the Fox RSNs. The Yankees opted to re-acquire YES Network in what ended up to be a reported $3.5 billion deal with Amazon, Sinclair, and several private equity firms serving as minority investors.
Overall, this is an interesting first step for Amazon, but it’s also not some kind of game changer. Because the games will only be available in the YES Network footprint, the Amazon games are clearly being targeted towards in-market Yankee fans. They also seem to be specifically targeted to cord cutters: some cursory searching reveals that PIX11 isn’t available with either an AirTV antenna, Hulu Live, or YouTube TV.
However, this is still Amazon’s first significant step into the local sports streaming game (outside of, well, being a middle man for packages like NBA League Pass or MLB.tv) after a well-publicized national partnership with the NFL.