News in Sports

The football team’s game against Brown Nov. 9 will be one of four Ivy League matchups that the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network, or YES, will air on its station this fall.

YES Network CEO Leo Hindery Jr. and Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans announced the deal Sept. 9.

Each of the four games will feature two different Ivy League squads so that every member of the Ancient Eight will receive equal exposure. The YES Network is a cable channel that reaches five million homes across parts of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, as well as DirecTV subscribers around the world. This is the highest level of exposure for the men’s football team since 1991, when its television contract with ESPN ran out and ESPN began covering more games in the Big 10, a Division I-A league.

“This is a big step forward and a natural step for Ivy League football,” Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn said. “Essentially what we have here is national exposure.”

The YES Network approached Ivy League athletics directors in May with its proposal for a television contract to cover the gap that occurs from late September to early November when Yankees coverage ends and the New Jersey Nets’ season has not yet started. Both professional teams have long-term contracts with YES.

While the athletics directors responded with unanimous approval, the Ivy League was unable to officially announce the deal until Sept. 9, pending approval by each school’s president, Orleans said.

Last year, Yale paid the New England Sports Network (NESN) approximately $25,000 a game to air four contests that reached 3.1 million homes across New England. Unlike last year’s NESN contract, the YES network is covering each contest at no cost to the universities involved.

While negotiations with NESN are not yet finalized, Conn expects that NESN will cover at least two of Yale’s regular season games.

The YES network has not made a bid for an extended contract to continue into the 2003 season. However, Orleans said the Ivy League would be interested in working with YES in the future.

“They need to take stock of what their resources are,” Orleans said. “We would certainly be interested in pursuing more television deals if they would be interested.”

— Marc Sorel

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