Apple TV+ Yankees, Dodgers game to also air on YES Network, SportsNet LA in change of plans



In a change of plans, Friday’s powerhouse matchup between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be on Apple TV+, but not exclusively on Apple TV+, a league spokesman confirmed to The Athletic.

Instead, local fans will be able to watch the game on YES in New York and Spectrum SportsNet LA in Los Angeles, the respective regional sports networks for the Yankees and the Dodgers. An executive with knowledge of Friday’s arrangement called it “an experiment” to try a co-existing presentation with the streamer nationally and the RSNs locally. Apple TV+ subscribers will still be able to watch in L.A. and New York.

The Apple TV+ deal with MLB is valued at $85 million annually and is in the third season of a seven-year deal. Its Friday night games had all previously just been exclusive to Apple.

The mishmash of MLB broadcast partners, including Apple TV+’s subscription service, has led to consternation among big-time fans. Besides local RSNs, MLB games are on ESPN, Fox, TBS, Roku, Apple and Amazon. All the deals are national, except Amazon Prime Video, which exclusively streams around 20 Yankee games.

In September 2022, the Apple exclusive stream issue peaked as the Yankees’ Aaron Judge chased the 61-homer mark, but had a game that was exclusively on Apple TV+. The Yankees tried to broker a trade in which its play-by-player Michael Kay and top analysts, David Cone and Paul O’Neil, would work the game and have it simulcast on YES and Apple TV+.

At that point, Apple TV+ was offering MLB for free, while YES on a cable subscription. The issue became so large that New York State Attorney General Letitia James put out of statement in support of YES’ view.

“History is in the making as Aaron Judge electrifies Yankees fans, and everyone who loves baseball,” James said. “To deny millions of New Yorkers, and fans around the nation, the opportunity to watch as Aaron Judge steps up to the plate, is wrong and unfair. New Yorkers paid their cable bills expecting to see live sports programming. Now they are being asked to do extra if they want to watch this exciting home run chase, and potentially historic game. That is why I am calling on Apple and the MLB to reach a fair accommodation with the YES Network so that fans can watch what we all hope will be history made this evening.”

Apple did not relent and Judge did not hit a historic homer on their air.

On Friday, though, Judge versus the Dodgers’ new slugger Shohei Ohtani will be on Apple TV+ around the country, but fans in New York and Los Angeles can just turn to their regular local providers. Fans that want to watch on Apple TV+ must pay the $9.99 monthly subscription fee.

Saturday’s game between the Yankees and Dodgers will be broadcast exclusively on Fox, while Sunday night will be only be viewed on ESPN.

(Photo: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)



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