The New York Yankees have nine games left in the 2022 Major League Baseball season. Those games, like many before them, could see strong viewership due to a home run chase happening with the team’s star player.
What Happened: Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has hit 60 home runs on the season as of Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. The slugger has the lead for home runs in the American League and across all of Major League Baseball.
The next home run hit by Judge, if he hits another, would tie him with Roger Maris for the single-season American League record. Hitting 62 home runs would be the American League record and could also be considered the Major League record by some, as the records set by Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds come into question due to their links to steroid use.
Trying to make history, the home run chase from Judge has led to increased viewership of Yankees games, which could benefit several media partners along with the team’s own broadcasting platform.
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Yankees Media Winners: The biggest winner of the race for 61 home runs by Judge is likely YES Network, home of Yankees games. The media platform is 26% owned by Yankee Global Entertainment.
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc SBGI acquired a 20% interest in YES Network in 2019 via its Diamond Sports Group subsidiary. Sinclair also airs local broadcasts of many MLB teams, including the Texas Rangers which play the final four games against the Yankees.
Other owners in YES network include Blackstone Inc BX, Redbird Capital and Mubadala Investment Company.
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN owns 20% of YES Network through a deal reached in 2019. Amazon is also a partner on Yankees broadcasting for 21 games in the 2022 season. This includes Amazon broadcasting the Sept. 30 game exclusively.
Tuesday’s game (Sept. 27) is one of the games that appear on YES Network and MLB broadcast partner TBS, which is a unit of Warner Bros Discovery Inc WBD. TBS could benefit from strong viewership of several marquee MLB matchups and could also benefit from strong MLB Playoffs viewership.
Another company that could benefit from the strong viewership of Yankees games is Apple Inc AAPL. The Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, Yankees game was not featured on YES Network, but instead aired on AppleTV+, a streaming platform from the technology giant.
The exclusive broadcast prompted New York attorney general Letitia James to criticize AppleTV+ with a plea to make the game available to all New Yorkers and put it on YES Network.
Apple broadcast the Yankees game for free for anyone who had an Apple ID.
Apple has spent heavily on sports content in recent years, landing the rights to MLB Friday Night games and Major League Soccer games. Many are probably unaware that Apple was offering MLB games, something that Judge and the press from the New York attorney general may have helped with.
Major League Baseball even tweeted the game was available for free and provided steps on how to watch the game with links to AppleTV+, potentially helping its partner game some new viewers and potentially some new subscribers.
Photo: Conor P. Fitzgerald via Shutterstock