YES App adds dynamic questions for greater viewer immersion

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During his four-plus years with the YES Network, Matt Duarte has channeled much of his energy into the YES App. Since its launch in 2021, the platform added Pick-N-Play Live (a free-to-play prediction game) in 2022, and then it brought DTC viewing and the YES Rewards program last year. Each enhancement has made it clear to Duarte, the RSN’s VP/strategy and business development, how dedicated Yankees fans are, as well as how interested they are in more immersive, engaging experiences.

“Given their passion — and how the Yankees reinvest into their team every year, their facilities, their players — we feel it’s very important likewise to do the same thing with respect to what we’re building and things we’re trying to do on the YES side,” Duarte told SBJ. “Especially with the app.”

And those changes have worked so far. The YES App saw average time spent per user increase by more than 8% year-over-year during the 2023 Yankees season even though games were 13% shorter, according to the network. During this year’s spring training, YES experienced a 49% year-over-year increase in unique viewership per game.

Leveling up engagement

This year, YES is boosting its app experience with dynamic questions during broadcasts through a partnership with Kero Sports. Viewers will see questions pop up on their screen that reflect in-game situations with possible outcomes. Those who predict plays correctly and accumulate the most YES Coins by the end of games will receive YES Rewards points that are redeemable for gift cards with Yankees brand partners like Amazon, Uber Eats and Dunkin’.

Previously, questions like this featured a menu-style presentation where a user could, for example, guess the outcome of an at-bat based off a generic list of outcomes (single, double, triple, home run, and so on). Now, Duarte said, if Aaron Judge walks up with the bases loaded, fans will be able to pick if he will knock in two-plus runs or not.

“You can opt in and out of the experience if you want to do something more passive,” Duarte said. “But the crux of it is that [the dynamic questions] changes and evolves based on the algorithm of our partner over the course of the game.”

Kero Sports provides similar services through the team apps of the Falcons, Bulls and Vikings. Duarte said YES first heard of the company a couple years ago, adding that Kero Sports was “very open to growing” with the experience that the YES App wanted to create. Duarte mentioned Kero Sports also integrated smoothly into YES’s existing partnership with fan loyalty and engagement platform LiveLike, which helped create the infrastructure for the YES Rewards program. “I like to think of them as our connective tissue across the board,” Duarte said of LiveLike.

Other YES App additions this year include a YES Rewards Referral Program, LG Smart TV and Vizio Smart TV compatibility, a secondary Spanish-language feed and improved offerings for its Live Stats function.

The YES App will feature in-game dynamic questions during Yankees games through a partnership with Kero Sports

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