1. I threw out a couple of tweets Tuesday about the Yankees selling exclusive games to Amazon Prime, and they got some strong reactions (and there was even a hilarious article written about the tweets in which the first sentence was totally inaccurate), so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to go into a little more depth and the point I was trying to make because (1) Twitter isn’t the best place to try to make a point since you have a character limit, and (2) the replies I got were so frighteningly dumb it blew my mind.
Here is my beef: The Yankees, valued at more than $7 billion, took 20 games that used to air on local, over-the-air TV in New York, and sold those games last year to Amazon Prime. The games are exclusive to Amazon Prime, meaning, if you are a Yankees fan, the only way to watch these games is on Amazon Prime. There is no other place where you can watch these 20 games. You have to pay for Amazon Prime to watch these games. On Tuesday, the Yankees and Amazon announced the deal will continue this season.
If you’re a Yankees fan who likes to watch the vast majority of regular-season games, you already need to pay in some way, shape or form via cable or some other bundle, for the YES Network, ESPN, Fox, FS1, TBS, Apple TV+ and Peacock. And now you have to pay for Amazon Prime.
On a total tangent, I love how baseball loves to spew the “grow the game” garbage yet you have absolutely no idea where your team’s game is airing on a daily basis, but I digress.
This isn’t about Amazon Prime, though. This is about greed. This is about the Yankees knowing they can bludgeon their fans at every turn when it comes to money and doing it. Hell, the Yankees even bludgeon their own players. Remember, this is an organization that charges its players for free Wi-Fi on team flights.
When is enough enough? How greedy do you need to be? The Yankees don’t need whatever money they are getting from Amazon for the 20-game package. This is a business, and they are allowed to profit however they want. And I am allowed to say the Yankees are animals when it comes to the way they treat their fans.
I feel like sports fans suffer from Stockholm syndrome. We’re so used to getting ripped off at every single turn that we don’t even flinch anymore when it happens.
Forty dollars to park your car at the ballpark? No problem, take my money. $8 for a small bottle of water? No problem, take my money. $200 for a meaningless regular-season baseball game. No problem, take my money. I need to pay for a billion streaming services to watch all the sports that I follow? No problem, take my money.
Now, let me clear up a few misconceptions about my tweets.
• I have Amazon Prime. I’ve had Amazon Prime for like 15 years. I will be able to watch every single Yankees game this season. This isn’t about Amazon Prime or any other subscription service. I pay for basically every streaming service that exists.
• Not everyone has Amazon Prime despite what so many arrogant people on Twitter say.
• No other team in baseball has sold off a package of exclusive games to a streaming partner. The Apple TV+ and Peacock deals are MLB deals. The Yankees’ deal with Amazon is a separate thing.
• Someone also sent me this nonsensical tweet to mock me: “I want the Yankees to maintain one of the highest payrolls in baseball every year, but I don’t want them to increase their revenue. Seems consistent.”
The Yankees’ payroll in 2022 when they made the Amazon Prime deal was $156 million. Their payroll in 2023 will be $261 million. The team’s gross revenue last year was $657 million. They earned $143 million alone in their deal with the YES Network. If you think the Yankees need whatever money Amazon is paying them for those 20 games to make payroll, you are nothing but clueless.
I did get a few sensible tweets about all this yesterday, None better than this one.
2. I saw the movie Air last night. Go see it when it comes out April 5. It was great. I won’t go in depth because I don’t want to give spoilers since many of you like to go in fresh.
I’ll just say this. I went in thinking it was a Ben Affleck movie. It’s not. It’s a Matt Damon movie. And Damon, who plays Sonny Vaccaro, and Viola Davis, who plays Michael Jordan’s mother, Deloris, gave outstanding performances. It’s really a must-see for any sports fans. Oh, and the 1980s soundtrack was as good as the film.
3. Speaking of must-see, Good Morning Football‘s (and recent SI Media guest) Kyle Brandt did his yearly breakdown of the annual NFL coaches photo yesterday. Like Damon and Davis, another masterly performance.
4. I think having flex scheduling for Monday Night Football is already going to be dicey for the NFL, so I was stunned to see the league was considering flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football.
It turns out flex scheduling for TNF on Amazon Prime isn’t going to happen anytime soon with owners agreeing to table the topic until their next meeting in May.
5. We told you in yesterday’s Traina Thoughts that the men’s NCAA tournament suffered declining ratings in the past two rounds due to the absence of powerhouse teams. The women’s tournament, airing on ESPN, however, is enjoying big ratings increases.
6. The latest episode of SI Media With Jimmy Traina features an interview with the NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt.
Brandt discusses his busy schedule, cohosting Good Morning Football and hosting Kyle Brandt’s Basement five days a week, in addition to taking on other projects. He also talks about interviewing Josh Allen every week, cast changes at GMFB, auditioning for ManningCast and why it’s O.K. to say no to sports media jobs.
Among other topics covered with Brandt: the Aaron Rodgers–New York marriage, the NFL adding a Black Friday game next season, Monday Night Football getting flex scheduling next season, Las Vegas brothels offering Jimmy Garoppolo free sex for life, Anthony Richardson’s jumping ability, elevator etiquette, people who complain to you in stores and much more.
Following Brandt, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV joins Jimmy for their weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, Jimmy and Sal discuss the World Baseball Classic, the NCAA tournament, MLB’s awful Apple TV+ deal and more.
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I had a request come in for WrestleMania week.
This was also a play-by-play clinic by the great Gorilla Monsoon.