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Baseball Wiki

Yankee Global Enterprises LLC (Yankee Global) was formed in 1999, and is the owner of the New York Yankees baseball club and the YES Network cable channel. It was originally created through a merger between the Yankees and the New Jersey Nets basketball team, known at the time as YankeeNets. Yankee Global Enterprises is controlled by the Steinbrenner family.

Prior to YankeeNets

In 1998, the Yankees had their most successful season in modern history, winning a combined total of 125 regular season and playoff games, culminating in a World Series championship. The team was in discussions to be sold to Cablevision, who at the time owned the broadcast rights to every MLB, NBA and NHL team in the New York City Metropolitan area. The proposed deal fell through because the two sides could not agree on an agreement that would include George Steinbrenner continuing to run the team for the new owners.

Merger with the Nets

After the proposed sale of the New York Yankees to Cablevision fell through, the Yankees and Nets agreed to merge business operations, creating a combined holding company. This was done to increase the negotiating power of both teams for future television contracts and stadium and arena construction deals. The pre-merger owners would continue to control their teams, with a minority interest in the other team. This arrangement was approved by both Major League Baseball and the NBA.

Marketing agreements

YankeeNets engaged in marketing agreements with the New York Giants football team and the British football powerhouse Manchester United, which resulted in exclusive Giants and Manchester United programming on the YES Network for a period of time.

Acquisition of the Devils

YankeeNets created an affiliate, Puck Holdings, which purchased the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team, to have relationships in all major league professional sports, and to give better leverage to the Nets in constructing the Prudential Center in Newark.

Broadcast negotiations

With the Yankees' television contract with Cablevision expiring in 2001 and the Nets' contract expiring after the 2001-2002 season, the teams negotiated together with potential cable partners for the next contract. They spoke to Cablevision about remaining on their networks, or creating a new network with them. Cablevision offered to pair both teams on their Fox Sports Net New York affiliate. They also spoke to other cable companies, including Time Warner about launching a new network with them. In the end, YankeeNets decided to pair with Goldman Sachs to launch their own regional sports network. The YES Network launched in March 2002, in preparation of the upcoming baseball season. Cablevision, after losing out on the broadcast rights, did not reach an agreement with YES for carriage on its system during the network's first year. The two sides did reach a temporary agreement in 2003, and a long-term deal about a year later.

The breakup of YankeeNets

In 2003, reports leaked that the Yankees and Nets sides of the organization were in disagreement with each other. The Yankee ownership in Tampa did not want any part in paying for an arena for the Nets and Devils, as the teams were money-losers. This led to the Nets being sold to Bruce Ratner, who intended to move the team to an arena in Brooklyn, New York, and the Devils being sold to businessman Jeffrey Vanderbeek, who moved the franchise to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey as was originally proposed by the previous Nets ownership. Since the breakup, the Devils also extended their television contract with Cablevision, ending the speculation that they would move to YES once their initial contract expired after the 2006-07 hockey season.

The legacy of YankeeNets is the YES Network, which allowed both the Yankees and Nets to dramatically increase their revenues. This allowed the Yankees to front the $800 million to construct their new Yankee Stadium.

Name change

In 2004, with the exodus of the Nets and Devils complete, the company changed its name to Yankee Global Enterprises LLC, keeping the Yankees and the YES Network as separate entities owned by the same company.

Money-losing controversy

In August 2006, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in an interview with Bloomberg radio, that the team is losing money, due to Major League Baseball's luxury tax. [1] It is unknown if the entity that is losing money is Yankee Global, or just the ballclub. After barely breaking even in 2002, the YES Network has been successful in generating revenue. Most of that revenue is believed to go directly to the Yankees, but sales figures for the combined entity are unknown.

The future

There had been reports that Yankee Global was interested in purchasing all or part of an AM radio station to broadcast the Yankees' games. CBS Radio, owner of WCBS-AM (the team's flagship station), had been looking to drop its MLB broadcasts ever since the league simulcasted local games on XM Satellite Radio, which does not compensate local stations. However, the initial Yankees/WCBS deal—ending after the 2006 season—was extended that same year and the games will continue to be broadcast on the station for the near future. CBS Radio also renewed the rights to the crosstown New York Mets via WFAN and some other teams during the 2006-07 period.

New Yankee Stadium

The Yankees are mostly financing the new Yankee Stadium by revenues the YES Network creates. Since the team will again have ownership of their stadium, the Yankees have also created a company to handle the concessions in new Yankee Stadium.

See also