The YES Network is the regional cable and satellite TV home of the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets. Being the largest regional sports channel in the country (biggest audience), most sports fans in the northeast are looking for a satellite or cable provider that carries the channel. The most popular option usually ends up being the YES Network on DIRECT TV.
YES first came on the scene in 2002 when the Yankees and co. pulled away from Cablevision and decided to take ownership of their broadcasting rights (they were well ahead of the curve as more teams are trying to follow suit these days). The Nets were officially separated from YES ownership in 2003 — however, their games would still be locally broadcast (and are to this day). You can find YES on DIRECTV programming by surfing to channel 631 (standard and high definition).
In addition to Yankees and Nets game, the YES network also has quite a bit of original programming. The Mike Francesa Show, for example, is a video cast of his wildly popular radio show, Mike’d Up. Yankeeography features a host of older and current players – they perform biographies, interviews and more. The YES Ultimate Road Trip was a fun stab at reality programming as they followed Yankee fans during the entire 162-game season. It ran for 3 years until 2007 — I watched this show a few times and gotta admit, was a bit jealous of the folks on the show!
What about the up-and-comin’ Yanks? Well, the YES Network has you covered there as well. Yearly, they broadcast games from the class A Staten Island Yankees. For class A ball, they do a pretty good job of covering the players, their history and prospects of being promoted to the big club. For a while (until ’06), they also covered their class AAA affiliate, Columbus Clippers. The Clips are no longer an affiliate and their current AAA team (Scranton Yankees) hasn’t been broadcast on YES. There’s definitely a demand to get them on the channel, hopefully they’ll eventually work out the details.
Blackout with DISH
Speaking of details, ever since the channel launched, DISH customers have been left out in the cold. The two parties haven’t been able to come to come to an agreement on a subscription fee. It’s particularly frustrating since DISH is the only cable or satellite provider that doesn’t have YES. And from the looks of it, they’re not particularly motivated to get this done, so if you’re a Yankee or Nets junky living in the northeast and still have DISH, it’s probably time to give up hope and make the switch.
What if I live elsewhere?
Along with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Braves, the Yankees have fans all over the U.S. So, if you’re not local, can you get the YES network? Unfortunately, nope. Other than moving (wow, that’s dedication :)), your only recourse is to buy the MLB EXTRA INNINGS or NBA LEAGUE PASS package. Each will run you about $200 and gives you access to nearly every regular season game. It’s not a perfect solution, but if you have the extra cash, they’re both well worth the investment (months of premier sports entertainment).