YES Network App Offers Brooklyn Nets Fans a New Viewing Experience
Unique features allow fans to keep up on stats and connect with friends
With the launch of its new app last March, YES Network is changing the viewing experience for Brooklyn Nets fans.
“We had an idea of a roadmap that we wanted to incorporate and build on over the first 12, 18 months,” said Matt Duarte, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development for YES Network. “The core piece of the new app was the highest quality game video player that we could get and build on top of that with different features, functionality and tools to allow all of our viewers and fans to both engage with us in as many different ways as possible as well as customize the way they view and interact with us.”
A change in the network’s ownership left YES looking at options after being part of the Fox Sports Go streaming app, and they made the decision to start from scratch with a new app of their own and the ability to take it in the direction they needed and that local fans would respond to.
That included features that aren’t part of a typical game broadcast. While streaming the game on their devices, fans can add a Live Stats display that is updated instantaneously with the latest play-by-play, lineups, and player and team information. From the display of the players on the court, users can select any player to check out their up-to-the-minute stats.
The second major feature is the Watch Party. Users can invite friends to connect through the app and talk via video to share the experience just as if they were watching the game in the same room.
“We launched Live Stats with the Yankees, saw the engagement go up and from there that helped our decision; ‘OK, we need to do this for the Nets as well.’ So we’re able to track from Watch Party to Live Stats, engagement, what they’re tapping around on,” said Kevin Sullivan, YES Network’s Head of Digital. “That was part of our goal in the beginning; we need to create this immersive atmosphere where people have everything at their fingertips. When it comes to the livestream, we don’t want people to go out to another website to get stats on the game while they’re watching, we give them that. We don’t want people to go out to another platform to watch video of their friends while they’re watching the game, we give them that. We’re giving fans everything they need right there.”
With the new features, YES is seeing a jump in users, just as the network is seeing some of its best Nets viewership ever, up 38 percent compared to this time in the 2019-20 season.
“We’ve seen year over year both the unique streamers have increased for us based on our last season on Fox Sports Go by a significant amount,” said Duarte. “Another metric that we track to really demonstrate that engagement is the time spent during a game, which has also increased significantly.”
Unique streamers have increased 213 percent compared to the 2019-20 season, while average minutes per game streamed have increased by 130 percent.
They aren’t done innovating yet. More features are on the way, starting with the inclusion of celebrity guests to the Watch Party feature. Users will have the opportunity to invite that game’s celebrity watcher to join their group and chat for a while during the game.
“It could be anybody,” said Sullivan. “It could be our own talent, Richard Jefferson, coming in to talk about the game with fans, just popping in. We’re brainstorming it now. Our imagination is going wild. It could be anything. There are a lot of celebrities out there that are fans of the Brooklyn Nets. We’re going to be tapping into a big roster.”
It's part of building a new viewing experience for a new environment.
“The way we consume sports has changed over the last two years,” said Sullivan. “Sports viewing has changed and we’d be remiss if we didn’t change with it. We’re going to be changing and growing. We’re not done with it.”
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