New MLS Club NYCFC Signs Regional TV Deal With YES Network

New York City Football Club (NYCFC), New York City’s new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, made it official yesterday that the YES Network would be the club’s regional television partner. NYCFC begins its inaugural season in March 2015.

Tracy Dolgin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YES Network (left) with Tim Pernetti, Chief Business Officer of New York City FC during Thursday's announcement.

Tracy Dolgin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YES Network (left) with Tim Pernetti, Chief Business Officer of New York City FC during Thursday’s announcement.

The deal is a relative no-brainer as NYCFC is jointly owned by Yankee Global Enterprises and City Football Group, which owns the Premier League club Manchester City.

“This deal is a great fit,” says Tracy Dolgin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YES Network. “It fits in so many ways. It’s so obvious that this had to happen. Most importantly, we’re so very excited. How many times do you get an opportunity do you get to do a deal with a new pro sports team in New York City? How special is that? How rewarding is that? I can’t understate that importance.”

The YES Network will televise all NYCFC home and away regular season matches that are not picked up by MLS’s national partners, ESPN and FOX. In addition, all matches televised by YES will be streamed live for free via the FOX Sports GO app to authenticated YES viewers. YES has deals in place for streaming with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.

NYCFC also announced yesterday that WFAN will serve as the club’s flagship station and radio rights holder.

“To have a world class franchise backed by the Yankees, backed by Manchester City, and now to be part of a family that has the two most dominant and energetic media partners in New York City, we feel great about where the club is headed,” says Tim Pernetti, Chief Business Officer of NYCFC. “There was no other option than WFAN and YES to make the kind of impact we want to make as a club and to send the kind of statement we plan to make throughout with the product we plan to provide.”

YES Network is still working on filling out its producer, director, and on-air talent ranks, but Dolgin promised the productions would be of the highest quality.

“[YES Network] takes our cues from the Yankee brand,” says Dolgin. “Every game is like the World Series and we are going to bring that level of commitment to every production of NYCFC. It’s going to be a fantastic TV product.”

The deal also provides more than just live game coverage. According to Pernetti, the club has been video documenting every step of its growth since it was founded in May of 2013. The hope is to work with YES to turn that unseen content into compelling feature stories and shoulder programming.

Many scheduling obstacles still remain for MLS, NYCFC, YES Network, and national rights holders to overcome. First, the club will have to lay out its game schedule to meet the logistical challenges of serving as a co-tenant at Yankee Stadium with the Yankees during the season. YES Network will also need to find place on its air while also balancing the Yankees and the Brooklyn Nets.

Two dates that are in place: NYCFC’s first match will be on the road on March 8 and the club’s first home match at Yankee Stadium will be March 15. Both games are expected to be carried by national broadcasters. The first YES Network broadcast date is still to be determined.