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Sports are the big new battlefield of the streaming wars, and New York Yankees games just became yet another salvo for one of the online services.
The 2022 MLB season will see 21 Yankees games, primarily Friday night games, streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime for viewers in the Yankees' local footprint, according to the New York Post's Andrew Marchand.
The first game to get the Amazon treatment will reportedly be the Yankees' game against the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, April 22. The broadcasters from the Yankees' YES Network will still produce the games, fans will just have to pay someone else to watch them.
This slate of games was aired on New York's WPIX in previous seasons, but they will now be locked behind the $139 per year paywall of Amazon Prime. This isn't Amazon's first foray into acquiring an exclusive set of games, as every NFL Thursday Night Football game will also be a Prime exclusive starting next season.
How to watch every Yankees game
So you're a diehard Yankees fan. Every night, or as close as you can get while meeting minimal social obligations, your television has featured the voice of Michael Kay as you watch baseball's most valuable team try to return to the promised land.
Want to continue that lifestyle? Well, let's break down what you'll need to do.
For local fans, the Amazon exclusivity means if you want to watch every Yankees game, you will need a Prime account in addition to a cable subscription, which most fans know is not cheap, for YES Network games as well ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball," Fox's Saturday games and TBS' new Tuesday night games. Before, you really only needed the cable subscription.
Out-of-market fans have long relied on MLB.TV, currently $129.99 for the full season or $109.99 for a single team package, to get their fix, but the league's streaming service still loses games to nationally televised games with exclusivity. It's unclear if that will be the same for the Prime games, but Marchand seems to indicate the exclusivity only applies for in-market fans.
So it's either cable and Amazon Prime, or MLB.TV and cable, right? Well, because every streaming service is now trying to entice sports fans to subscribe, both Apple TV+ and NBC's Peacock are getting in on the MLB action.
Apple has already announced its Friday night package, starting with the New York Mets' opener against the Washington Nationals, while Marchand reports MLB plans to add weekly Sunday late morning/early afternoon games, beginning in May. These figure to represent only a few games for the Yankees (and other teams), but the fact remains being a diehard, watch-every-game MLB fan has never required more effort since the advent of MLB.TV.