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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:Fans who pay for MSG-YES partnership will be left kicking and screaming

The reason bills don’t arrive scented with perfume is because they’re bills. You could soak them in Aunt Ida’s Sweet Syrup and they’d still stink. Nothing nice about them beyond, perhaps, the word “please,” as in “please remit.” 

And that’s why Thursday’s lengthy dual-network announcement that YES and MSG will partner in all-their-local-sports streaming ventures did not include the single most important information for consumers: 

How much more will this deal cost us? How much more to remain a fan of the Yankees, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Knicks, Nets and Liberty? Must we all now dig deeper to buy games rather than continue living without streaming purchases, as many of us holdouts and priority-aware have chosen to do the last few years? 

Or is this just the latest test to see how much more we can suffer or deeper we can reach as per the best-laid plans of take-’em-for-granted Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred? Does this have anything to do with Jimmy Dolan’s long-held desire to sell MSG Network? 

Put it this way: If this new alliance between formally hostile and hateful rivals were a bargain, one that would cost us nothing or just a few cents more, that info would have been heralded at the top of the announcement. Instead, all consumer cost considerations were entirely omitted. 

Though we credit the newlyweds for their public vows of devotion, what’s in it for us, the purchasing public? 

MSG and YES Network announced they’d be partnering on a new venture. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

MSG Networks CEO Andrea Greenberg: 

“This joint venture with YES will combine the streaming expertise of two of the largest regional sports networks in the country. … 

“We seek to marry our collective insight, expertise and best-in-class technology not only to explore enhancements to our own products, but also to offer other networks, teams and sports properties an efficient way to launch a state-of-the-art streaming service. 

“We are excited to partner with YES to create solutions for third-party content providers looking for a seamless way to reach new audiences.” 

Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees reacts on the mound when the New York Yankees played the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, September 10, 2023. Robert Sabo for NY Post

Fine. We’re thrilled for both. But what’s in it for us — those whom both networks depend on for blood, oxygen and dough? Most of us have never considered changes we didn’t need. We never before had a problem trying to watch Knicks games on MSG or watching the Yanks on YES, at least until lately when the Yanks and MLB began to sell a minimum of 20 games to streaming services. 

But why such a confederation of networks if not to pad their takes by targeting even more of our money? Is it to impress us by “seamless” technological achievements that mean little-to-nothing to sports fans? 

As everyone at the top of YES and MSG would agree, always follow the money. It never fails to land on the answer. 

A plethora of NY’s sports teams are shown on the two channels.

And as boxing referees advise, “Protect yourselves at all times.” 

It’s all a con, continued: On the tail of the absurd “Tommy Cutlets” instant media overkill, NBC gave it a shot in its badly overdone open to New Years Eve’s Packers-Vikings telecast. 

After all, not even Mike Tirico and Cris Collisnworth, in New Year’s Eve tuxedos could feed the feel and fanfare of mediocre teams still alive for playoff spots. So, at the top of the telecast, we were told this night and game belonged to Minnesota’s starting rookie QB, Jaren Hall, who until then had played just small parts of two games. 

NBC sent it down to excited sideliner Melissa Stark, who stepped on an empty can of hype: 

Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt (95) and cornerback Keisean Nixon (25) sack Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) during their football game at U.S. Bank Stadium. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“[Vikings coach] Kevin O’Connell told us that he saw something immediately in Hall: his work habits and professional preparation when no one was watching. He never gets too high or too low, and has the right temperament for this moment.” 

Stark might have added a few more pertinent things, such as, depending on how you look at it, Hall was either the Vikes’ second-string or fourth-string QB. After starter Kirk Cousins was injured in late October, he started Week 9 at Atlanta but was quickly lost to a concussion. 

He was then replaced by new acquisition Josh Dobbs, who then lost the gig to Nick Mullens, who was replaced this night by Hall, who was benched at halftime for Mullens. 

The truth is, NBC, as a matter of good faith and self-protection, should’ve declared the truth: 

As the latest your-guess-is-as-good-as-Colin Cowherd’s, Hall was the latest thrown into the 2023 season’s “Who the heck knows” cauldron. And O’Connell, like so many head coaches this season, was desperate enough to start the team dentist if he could throw a Joe Kapp spiral — Kapp being the late Vikes QB who succeeded despite his natural habit of throwing wobblers. 

Left unspoken is why Hall, blessed with such attributes, was among four Minnesota starters this season — along with Cousins, Dobbs and Mullens. 

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Anyway, Hall on Sunday night was pulled after 10 passes, one for an interception, and a total of 67 passing yards in a 33-10 must-win loss. He was replaced by Mullens, who then became either the fifth-stringer or restored third-stringer? 

But the come-on con by NBC to watch a game we already were in place to watch will be entered into the Annals of Good Tries. 

Will TV’s partnerships with sports gambling operations and reliance on sports gambling ad revenue alter what’s seen and heard as legitimate news? Or is the conflicted interest, and perhaps even shame, too great? 

So we’ll answer our question with a question: How many of you watched a newscast last week that reported that this year, Ohio’s first of legalized sports gambling, according to the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, produced a huge escalation of calls for help: 

“We started the calendar year off in the thousands,” Michael Buzzelli, associate director of the Ohio help network said. “That’s triple the amount from last year.” 

The oblivious all-game formula shoots that so often destroy the ends of close college basketball games — home team scores, get off the game to shoot the crowd or cheerleaders; visiting team scores, shoot the visitors’ bench or a closeup of the scorer even with a full court press on — have crept into football telecasts. 

Dolphins-Ravens last Sunday was still close when Miami had a third-and-goal. How will Miami play it? Two tight ends, empty backfield, slot back or whatever? Defense responds with what? 

Tight end Isaiah Likely #80 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a touchdown while being tackled by safety DeShon Elliott #21 of the Miami Dolphins after catching a second half pass at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2023. Getty Images

Tough to tell as CBS presented the formulaic third- or fourth-and-goal series of crowd shots showing people making the same noise we can hear. 

Men’s college basketball, last week: Central Arkansas 120, Champion Christian 54. The young men for Central Arkansas were allowed to shoot 38 3s and make 16 steals. That special place in hell will be too crowded to remain special. 

For all the tomahawk chopping, reader Pat Proietti suggests it was an “insult to the brave Seminole Nation that 20 Florida State players opted out of the Orange Bowl” then lost, 63-3, to Georgia.