Net Gain for YES Affiliates


Executives at Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network are in a full-court press, looking to finalize deals and details for the channel’s first-ever local ad sales promotion.

The regional sports network is keying the January/February promotion off a “Nets Seats 'n’ Greets Sweepstakes,” in which a randomly selected grand-prize winner will receive VIP treatment for four at a New Jersey Nets National Basketball Association game, including floor seats; a place in the “high-five” line during player introductions; an autographed team basketball; and hotel accommodations.

Moreover, the New York City-area service is also offering a first prize of two preferred seats and a Nets/YES goodie bag to a winner from each participating affiliate.

“Previous management concentrated on getting fully distributed,” said YES senior vice president of affiliate sales Matt Cacciato. “We think it’s the right time to build value for affiliates, as the Nets’ play over the past few years has given it more recognition against the [New York] Knicks in the market, and the team’s ratings are growing.”

Excluding a loss on Dec. 14 that dropped their record to 9-12, Nets’ ratings for the first 20 games this season had grown 50% to a 0.9 household average in the New York DMA, over a similar span last year, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

At press time, Cacciato reported that Cablevision has hooked a deal with local car dealership in New Jersey and that Comcast Corp. is working toward inking pacts with a pair of clients.

“We’re meeting with Time Warner Cable next week to help settle a couple of things,” Cacciato said. In Staten Island, Time Warner has already parked a deal with a car dealership, while the company has also made commitment to the local-advertising play in the Hudson Valley, according to Cacciato.

YES is creating create taggable spots, designed to drive viewers to the point of sale. Counter cards and other point-of-purchase materials will also direct people to the YES Web site (, where they can register for the sweepstakes.

YES, having stepped to the local-promotion line with the Nets, won’t necessarily take a swing at something similar with the regional sports network’s marquee team.

“As you can imagine, it’s not tough to sell [New York] Yankees inventory. We might want to sell deeper into our schedule, or work with marketing on an affiliate program,” he said.

YES averaged a 4.5 household average in the New York DMA for 130 Yankees game during the 2005 Major League Baseball season.

YES is owned by the Yankees, the former ownership group of the Nets, Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners.

Elsewhere, YES is taking a Nielsen out-of-home market study to market. Findings, gathered from more than 1,100 phone interviews in September and October, showed that if people watching in out-of-home locations were factored in, YES’s ratings among men 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 would improve 14.5% and 14.1%, respectively, while its numbers would increase 10.4% among adults 18 to 49.

“It’s a way to say, 'Hey, Mr. Ford dealer, YES is delivering bonus audience.’ It can help in the pitch against local newspapers, which remain the biggest player in the fight for local advertiser budgets,” said Cacciato.