YES Network App Logs Logs Users with New Expanded Pick-N-Play Live Interactivity, YES Rewards

This season, YES App has twice set a record for the most streamed game in its history

We’re now a month into the Major League Baseball season and one of the first headlines was the return to form of the New York Yankees. The buzz surrounding the Bronx Bombers has led to a red-hot start for its regional broadcast partner, YES Network.

A slew of new interactive features and services, not to mention winning, have helped the YES App break user records during the first few weeks of the 2024 Yankees campaign. The app has already achieved the highest number of users twice viewers registered for one game at a time: on both opening day and the fourth game of the season (the final game of a four-game season-opening series with the Houston Astros).

“We expected a strong start based on the hype surrounding Spring Training,” says Matt Duarte, VP, strategy and business development, YES Network, “but it was a nice surprise that we not only set the record on opening day, but also came back the following Sunday and broke the record again. I think this shows the demand for the product on the field and how compelling these guys are this year. Hopefully fans will enjoy watching it during our experience. Our production team and our digital team have done a good job of taking advantage of close games (via notifications). That creates a lot of traffic, and we see that.”

The YES app opened the 2024 New York Yankees season with an extensive Pick N Play Live game, which is integrated directly into the live streaming experience on mobile devices, tablets and the web. (Images: JA network)

According to YES Network, viewers are watching games via the app longer this season – by a significant margin: the average viewing time per user per game is 78% longer than for the first 25 games of 2023.

Fans watching Yankees games on the YES app have noticed that the network has continued to expand its already robust offering of interactive games, live stats overlays and the industry’s first app-based loyalty program.

Gamification encourages interactivity and rewards loyalty

In YES Network Pick N Play Live game, users can answer trivia questions and more within the same streaming environment where they watch the live game. Powered by Kero Sports, the free-to-play, real-time Livewhich launched on the YES app in 2022, now features what the network calls “dynamic questions”: the trivia and prediction-based questions fall entirely within the game’s narrative context.

For the first time, a chat function has been added that allows YES App users to discuss the game with fellow fans while watching.

During the game, users collect YES Coins, which are converted into YES Rewards points and redeemed for gift cards from brands such as Amazon, Uber Eats, Lowe’s, Ulta Beauty, Dunkin’, DoorDash, GrubHub, Wayfair, Adidas and Buffalo Wild Wings.

“We create that connective tissue around all the different features that we offer,” Duarte says, adding Pick N Play Live“We’ve revamped the foundation of that experience to make it more proactive and open it up to more fans, unlike last year where you had to search and choose what you think is going to happen.”

The YES development team has added a chat function Pick N Play Live. It helped the feature reach its highest ever number of users for a single game this season, while the average number of players per game has quadrupled compared to the same period in the 2023 season.

In addition, YES Rewards thanks users who are the best advocates for the product. New for 2024: YES App users can receive up to 100,000 YES Rewards points when they refer friends and family to purchase a standalone YES App subscription. Anyone who refers a friend will receive a unique code that, when redeemed, will earn points applicable at the new YES Rewards Store, where they can purchase YES-branded Yankees merchandise.

All these new layers and synergies required hard work with vendor partners like LiveLike and subscription/profile management service Evergent. Additionally, Stellar Elements supports the UI in the app experience, creating checks and balances and accuracy of the user experience on the backend.

Increased user base, migration to connected devices Continue to focus on image quality

Another emerging trend in sports live streaming these days is the increase in the number of connected devices and the migration of streaming audiences to the big screen at home.

The YES app entered the 2024 Yankees season with launches on LG Smart TV and Vizio Smart TV. It is also available on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and Samsung Smart TVs.

While most of the interactivity features launched this season are focused on mobile, web and tablets, the YES team regularly thinks about how these features could soon migrate to a connected TV environment

“We understand that the number of people watching those large screens via the app is growing,” says Duarte. “We want to tailor that experience to them as much as possible. When we talk about time spent moving up, it’s mostly about people switching to connected devices. The more people who subscribe directly to us, the more we see that they want to watch the biggest and best screen they can.

Connected devices are an interesting area for sports broadcasters. Television sets require high image quality, but offer fewer options for interactive experiences that are not inconvenient. Additionally, big screen viewers may simply be more inclined to want a relaxed experience or wish their interactivity was more on a second screen, unlike their mobile counterparts who are typically more interested in gamification and interactivity happening at the same time are presented in streaming. environment.

“When I talk about personalization and all these features and elements,” says Duarte, “there are people who don’t want that. They also just want to sit back and watch. “I think it’s their choice to have the ability to turn on and off and not (be forced) to watch the game in a way they don’t want to.”

Even with the cool bells and whistles, Duarte and his team know that when it comes down to it, image quality and stream reliability are users’ most important desires. To ensure performance with increased user base, YES Network held weekly off-season meetings with its video vendors such as Harmonic and Conviva to ensure video health would remain strong even as more people than ever watched through the app.

“We tried to focus on the experience and the video quality,” says Duarte, “and making sure the user gets that best-in-class experience first and Than layering these features and functions to provide a better experience and extend the time users can watch to personalize that experience for them. We are increasing capacity on the backend to ensure we prepare for much more streamed events than last year. Basically, I told everyone to think about our most streamed game and make a plan for 50% more than that. That’s the plan. If we get there, great, but we want to be prepared for records every day.”