The Yankees head into the weekend with a comfortable lead in the AL East. Their magic number for the division is in single digits, and they just clinched a playoff spot on Thursday night. More significantly, right now for general fan interest, would be superstar outfielder Aaron Judge sitting on the verge of home-run history. Friday, the Yankees continue a series against their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox. But fans won’t be able to find it on a traditional television broadcast.
Friday’s game is set to air on Apple TV+ and won’t be broadcast anywhere else. No, national television networks won’t have it. MLB Network won’t either. Even YES Network — the Yankees’ local channel — will not carry it live. MLB.tv subscribers won’t be able to stream the game with their subscriptions. Fans do not need a subscription or to pay for it (more info here), but the only way they can watch the full game is via Apple TV+. (The league has offered live look-ins on MLB.com at Judge’s at-bats earlier in the week.)
This has been the case all season with select Friday night games, as most baseball fans have surely noticed. Given the circumstances surrounding Judge’s push up into 60 home runs, however, there’s a lot more attention on the exclusive broadcast right now. The Yankees have even tried to make a “trade” in order to carry the game on YES, according to the New York Post, which also reports such a deal is unlikely.
Thursday, YES reported that Wednesday’s game against the Pirates was the most-watched non-Subway Series (vs. the Mets) game on the network in four years.
The deal between MLB and Apple was announced back in the spring, shortly after the end of MLB’s owner-imposed lockout. The deal is worth $85 million over seven years for MLB, according to Forbes.