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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

YES Network is worth much more than the Yankees-Neil Best

3/5/12, Neil Best, "But none can match YES in viewership or value. At an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion, it is worth much more than the team itself. (The Yankees actually own less than half of the network; Goldman Sachs also is a major stakeholder.)

Tracy Dolgin, YES' president since 2004, acknowledged the obvious Monday, which is that the network benefits from the team's commitment to consistently contending. That helps not only with advertising but, more importantly, in securing the subscriber fees that are the bulk of every regional sports network's revenues. YES is believed to command about $3 per household per month.

Beyond that, Dolgin said the channel focuses on quality and reinvestment, just as the team does. "The ethos of the Yankees created the ethos of the YES Network," he said....

Dolgin was unapologetic about the Yankees-centric point of view, saying flatly that YES "is a homer network" like all regional sports networks, team-owned or not.

"I use the word 'homer' proudly, as opposed to a journalist fearing that word," he said. "When you are watching a game, I'm very proud to say we're rooting for the home team on our air."

That does not mean ignoring negative developments, he said, especially in an information age in which "even if you wanted to, you can't hide the facts." But bad news, like good news, is discussed through a Yankees-fan prism.

(In fairness, SNY personalities have been openly critical of the Mets in ways YES never has been about the Yankees.)

Dolgin said the network makes its own decisions but admitted the Yankees seek input, as most teams do with their local rights-holders. Then again, some teams are louder than others. "The Yankees do have very strong opinions of their brand, because frankly, it's the best," Dolgin said.

As rich and powerful as the Yankees have made YES, its winter schedule has been limited by the state of the Nets, whose ratings are by far the NBA's worst.

The hope is that next season's move to Brooklyn will make the franchise more successful and relevant, adding to YES' value to distributors. "They have only one direction to go at this point," Dolgin said of the Nets....

Dolgin said YES' task in the next five years is to not grow complacent and "keep reinventing ourselves."

8/2/2007, "Goldman Sachs would consider YES Network sale for right offer," AP, USA Today

(I find SNY's studio productions easier to watch. ed.)

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