ESPN2 televised Monday night’s Yankees-Red Sox spring training game nationally, but when viewers in the New York area turned to the channel, many were surprised to find SportsCenter instead.
It wasn’t on YES, either, because the network was carrying the Celtics-Nets game that night.
Because the game was outside ESPN’s regular contract with Major League Baseball, MLB, the Yankees and Red Sox all had to sign off on the network showing it.
The three parties agreed to the national coverage but the Yankees and Red Sox declined permission for the game to be available in the New York and Boston areas.
NESN showed the game in Boston. In New York, it was blacked out entirely.
MLB discussed the matter with the Yankees, but the team exercised its right to deny permission. Spokesmen for the Yankees and YES declined to comment on the decision.
Traditionally, teams are very protective of local TV rights. In this case it meant depriving fans of seeing the game between the traditional rivals.
“We expressed interest in televising the game locally in New York, but the option was not available to us,” an ESPN spokesman said.