The Yankees and the YES Network are exploring developing YES Radio while leveraging its current content and creating new shows in the beginning of a series of moves that could have huge implications not only locally, but on the future of sports media, The Post has learned.
The YES plans will go into overdrive upon the completion of its $3.5 billion deal that will restore the Yankees as the network’s largest shareholder. The Yankees are backed by Amazon and Sinclair, positioning the network well as the sports media landscape shifts.
Sinclair’s reach provides YES with protection on its cable carriage fees, while Amazon will help it navigate and perhaps be leaders in the future of sports media distribution.
While radio may be the beginning driver, the new ownership setup could eventually have a major impact on how fans watch the games as the finances of cable/digital sports viewing further change in the next decade and beyond.
This could be a precursor of Amazon’s move as a major sports video player on par with ESPN, Turner and the broadcast networks.
While nothing is changing in the short term, Amazon Prime could eventually become a place where some Yankees games are housed, at least digitally, according to sources.
As for the expansion of Yankees/YES audio, YES and SiriusXM have had discussions about housing the radio network on the satellite service, according to sources.
These talks could pick up at the completion of the $3.5 billion deal, as YES — with the Yankees its biggest shareholder again — will return to its more nimble and entrepreneurial roots after being controlled by Fox as one of 22 Regional Sports Networks. YES is without limitations, so, though radio might be one starting point, podcasts and other means of distribution will be explored.
YES declined comment.
YES has big potential plans to leverage the programming it already creates. A program, such as Michael Kay’s “CenterStage,” where he interviews athletes and celebrities, could be distributed in a number of ways digitally from Prime to Amazon Music. “Yankeeographies” are another example.
YES will try to expand its reach, which is why it has quietly been talking with prospective personalities about joining it.
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Someone, like the just-hired former Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson, who has done some games this season, could see his role expanded. Nelson has hosted radio shows in the past. A current studio analyst, like Jack Curry, who has recently authored a book with David Cone, could be used more on a variety of platforms.
Big potential moves: Store this one away — the buzz in the business is that ESPN could redo “NFL Countdown” after this season. That is why a smaller move could have future implications.
Jac Collinsworth, Cris’ son and someone on the rise at ESPN, will receive some college football studio hosting reps on ESPN’s new ACC Network, sources said.
If ESPN added a co-host or if Sam Ponder were to not continue after this season, Collinsworth would likely be considered. Collinsworth will still do his NFL reporting this season.
Meanwhile, as The Big Lead reported, Matt Hasselbeck will not be on “Monday Night Countdown” anymore but will still continue on Sunday’s pregame show. With Steve Young already on Mondays, two ex-quarterbacks might have been too many.
Hasselbeck is expected to be a game analyst on Thursday night college football. Hasselbeck has been considered for the Monday night booth in the past. As The Post reported months ago, though ESPN has yet to announce, Ted Bruschi will be replacing Charles Woodson on “Sunday NFL Countdown.”
Meanwhile, sources tell The Post, Hasselbeck’s brother, Tim, is expected to be an ACC Network football game analyst.
One other nugget: Fox had interest in Dan Orlovsky to be a college game analyst, according to sources, but he is under contract at ESPN. Fox ended up swiping Brock Huard from ESPN to be its new No. 2 college game analyst.
Clicker books: Just in time for Father’s Day, a couple of more Papa Clicker Reviews. First on the docket, “Let’s Play Two (The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks)” by Ron Rapoport. According to Papa Clicker, this book is more than just a Banks biography. There are interesting stories about the Negro Leagues, Leo Durocher and the Mets’ comeback to catch the Cubs in ‘69. A constant theme is Banks’ disappointment at not making the World Series. This book delivers, though, tying the all-time high score with 4.6 clickers out of 5.
Meanwhile, “TigerLand” by Will Haygood is not for everyone, but it is a fine read about a black high school in Columbus, Ohio, during the era of Martin Luther King’s and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassinations and segregation. The high school went on to win city championships in basketball and baseball in the same year. Needless to say, this story is about more than sports. It receives a very respectable 4.2 clickers.