Amazon to Allow Friday’s Yankees Game — as Aaron Judge Chases Home Run History — to Air Simultaneously on YES Network
Amazon has to be pinching itself these days. Prime Video’s new original series “The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power” is setting records for the streamer, and the 2022 streaming exclusive version of “Thursday Night Football” has launched to mostly positive reactions.
Now, thanks to a deal made earlier this year, Prime Video gets the chance to stream what may be Aaron Judge’s record-breaking 62nd home run of the season. Amazon’s agreement with the Yankees allows them to air 21 Yankees games exclusively throughout the season, and one of those games is set to air on Friday, Sept. 30 when the Bronx Bombers take on the Baltimore Orioles.
On Sept. 28, Judge tied former Yankee Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, set 61 years ago in 1961.
As history approaches, Amazon has decided to give Yankees fans more opportunities to see Judge try for 62. On Wednesday, the Yankees’ regional sports network (RSN) home the YES Network sent out a social media message announcing that the channel would air the game alongside Prime Video’s broadcast.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Friday night’s Yankees-Orioles game can now be seen on Prime Video and YES Network. pic.twitter.com/9DEHBAJxGJ— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 28, 2022
This strategy from Amazon is very different from Apple’s, which held the exclusive rights to the game on Sept. 23, and did not allow a simultaneous broadcast despite pleas from the Attorney General of New York.
There are other mitigating factors in this decision. Prime Video’s broadcasts of Yankees games are not national telecasts as they are on Apple TV+. Amazon’s games are only available within the Yankees’ media market of New York state, Connecticut, northeast Pennsylvania, and north and central New Jersey. The games are also essentially YES Network broadcasts, using the team’s traditional broadcasters and production crews.
Additionally, Apple makes its exclusive MLB games free to anyone with an Apple account, so a subscription to Apple TV+ is not necessary to watch. That’s not true of Amazon, which also owns a 15% stake in the YES Network, which means Amazon stands to benefit no matter which way customers choose to watch Friday’s game.
Regardless of who stands to make more money, Judge’s chase for the record books will make for exciting TV, and Amazon is offering more chances to watch history being made.
Because all of the players with more homers in a season than Maris — Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa — have been implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Maris’ record is seen by many fans (though not the record book) as the legitimate overall Major League record. Therefore, if Judge were to pass Maris’ mark, many would consider him the “true” single-season home run king.