SNY always has been known primarily as the home of the Mets, but this winter its second most visible partner has been making a bit of a stir.
Connecticut’s women’s basketball team had won 106 games in a row as of Monday morning.
The monumental streak has generated strong viewership on SNY, which does not have rights to UConn’s post-season games but carried 17 of its 29 regular-season contests to an average 0.42 percent of homes in the New York area – by far a new high – and 6.0 in the Hartford-New Haven market.
And that is without benefit of some of the season’s most high-profile matchups, which go to ESPN.
SNY also shows “The Geno Auriemma Show” and other UConn-related programming and reports.
The UConn women help make SNY an essential channel in Connecticut beyond its Mets coverage.
So, network president Steve Raab, just how important are the Huskies to the network’s bottom line?
“From an economic standpoint, it’s meaningful,” Raab said after a tour of SNY’s new 4 World Trade Center studios on Thursday. “But there’s something separate from the economics, which is that it’s just a great partnership.
“It’s really great to be partners with a program that has unprecedented success. I mean, you really feel like you are helping to document history and tell the story. There also is this added component that there is an unprecedented level of trust between us and UConn and us and Geno, and I give him a lot of credit for that.
“He fully understands what the partnership can do for his program and for the university and he intuitively gets that this trust and respect yields better content and a better product and a better story for everybody. It seems so simple. You would think that every coach, every program and every team would feel the same way, because there really is a benefit to it, but they don’t all. And UConn and Geno, they just do, and he does.
“So not only does it make for great content, great product, it’s a lot of fun. So it’s this combination of the fact it’s economically meaningful, but you’re helping to document and tell a historical story, you’re doing it at a level that feels great and you’re doing it with this mutual level of trust and respect.”
Auriemma and his program also have partnered with HBO on a series documenting the season that premiered last week and will continue every Wednesday as long as the Huskies are alive in the postseason.
Asked about the partnership’s importance within Connecticut, Raab said, “I think they are counting on us. I think they appreciate the heightened attention and output we’ve brought to the program and to the university and I think it makes SNY that much more relevant across the entire state of Connecticut.
“And the partnership goes deeper. Their baseball team uses the [Mets’] spring training facility to play some games. We’ll take some [UConn] hockey games when we can, and the shoulder programming we do with Geno is terrific, because he’s terrific in the access he gives us.”