Regional sports broadcasting networks have existed for over 30 years, but in 2001, the concept behind the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network was something new. Rather than licensing broadcasts of their games to another network, the Yankees would control the presentation of their content, as well as the highlights and more in-depth features on the team through the YES Network. Plus, with additional programming time available from owning a network, the team could develop new Yankees-specific programming.
Creating the YES Network required strategic planning, long-term investment advice and a willingness to take risks. When the team’s ownership committed to YES, it selected Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Bank as its equity co-investor. Goldman Sachs helped the Yankees develop a plan to expand the network’s reach and develop innovative ways to connect with its fan base.
Funding for the YES Network was formally announced on September 10, 2001. Despite the turbulence that faced financial markets following September 11, Goldman Sachs stood by its commitment to the concept and increased its investment, helping the Yankees build a completely new sports network from the ground up in less than seven months. The YES Network was launched on March 19, 2002, just in time for opening day of the baseball season.
Building a Community of Sports Fans
The YES Network’s greatest asset was its content, and the approach the Yankees took to develop and package content was innovative and created value for its fans. In addition to live sports broadcasts and highly regarded pre- and post-game shows, Yankee coverage extends year round with Yankees Hot Stove, the network's popular offseason show covering the team's roster and other major league deals. The cross-generational appeal of Yankees programming allows the network to connect fans old and new with past and present Yankees players through Yankeeography, and rebroadcasts of famous games in Yankees history with Yankees Classics.
As broadband access expanded and the sophistication of computers and browsers increased, demand for the YES Network’s exclusive online content grew as well, with archived video and social networking through MyYESNetwork.com, and development of mobile web content.
Redefining the Game Experience
Throughout its 10 years, the YES Network has maintained an emphasis on technological innovation, offering fans the ability to connect with their team and one another through multiple platforms. YES was the first regional sports network to offer broadcasts in HD, and the first to enable its viewers to watch professional baseball games live over the Internet, allowing Yankees fans to follow their team from almost anywhere in the world.
The YES Network regularly offers game archives, fantasy league tracking and the ability to view multiple angles of game action during live broadcasts. In July 2010, the network presented the first-ever 3D baseball telecast, bringing the fans even closer to their favorite team. YES continues to redefine what fans can expect from their regional sports network.
Impact of the YES Network
Goldman Sachs’ Long-Term Relationship with YES and the Yankees
With over 20 years of global investing experience, Goldman Sachs' Merchant Banking Division (MBD) builds long-standing relationships with companies, investors, entrepreneurs and financial intermediaries around the globe using corporate equity, corporate credit and real estate and infrastructure investment strategies.