Why Are Yankees Games Blacked Out?

Wondering why you can’t watch Yankees games online? Here’s a look at the blackout rules and how they work.

Checkout this video:


Have you ever tried to watch a Yankees game on MLB.tv, only to find that it’s blacked out? If you live outside of New York, Connecticut, or parts of New Jersey, this is a common occurrence. But why are Yankees games blacked out on MLB.tv?

The simple answer is that MLB.tv blackout rules are designed to protect the interests of local baseball broadcasters. By blacking out games that are being shown on local television, MLB.tv ensures that viewers remain invested in their regional broadcast networks.

But there’s more to the story than that. In order to understand the rationale behind MLB’s blackout policy, it’s important to first understand the basics of how Major League Baseball broadcasting rights work.

The History of the Yankees’ Blackout Policy

The New York Yankees are one of the most popular and successful sports franchises in the world, and they have a long history of blackout policies to thank for their widespread appeal. The team’s games are routinely aired on national television networks like ESPN and Fox, but they are also blacked out in local markets that fall within a 75-mile radius of Yankee Stadium. This unique approach to broadcasting has allowed the Yankees to build a fan base that extends well beyond the boundaries of New York City.

The blackout policy was first put in place in the early days of television, when local stations were unwilling to air games that were not being played in their own market. The Yankees recognized the potential of TV as a tool for reaching new fans, and they began to purchase air time on stations outside of their broadcast territory. This allowed them to show their games to a wider audience, but it also meant that fans in New York City were often unable to watch their home team play.

In 1957, the Yankees made the decision to black out their games in local markets, in order to encourage more people to purchase tickets and come to see them play at Yankee Stadium. This policy was met with mixed reactions from fans, but it ultimately proved to be successful; over the next few decades, the team’s fan base continued to grow exponentially.

In recent years, the blackout policy has come under fire from critics who argue that it is outdated and unfair to fans who live outside of New York City. The Yankees have responded by making some concessions; in 2014, they began airing select games on MLB Network, which is available nationwide. And earlier this year, they reached an agreement with Verizon that will allow subscribers of the telecommunications giant’s FiOS service to watch Yankees games on their phones and tablet computers.

It remains to be seen whether these changes will be enough to placate the Yankees’ critics; but one thing is certain: thanks to its long-standing blackout policy, the team has built one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in all of sports.

How the Blackout Policy Affects Fans

Under the MLB’s current television contract, all games are blacked out in areas where there is a significant amount of team overlap. This means that if you live in New York, you can’t watch the Yankees on TV if you live in an area serviced by YES Network. The blackout policy is intended to protect local broadcasters from having their ratings cannibalized by out-of-market game broadcasts.

Although the blackout policy may seem unfair to fans who are unable to watch their favorite team, it does have some potential benefits. For example, blackouts can encourage fans to attend games in person, which ultimately benefits team owners and the MLB as a whole. Additionally, blackouts may also help preserve the value of local TV rights deals.

The MLB’s blackout policy has been increasingly unpopular in recent years, especially as more and more fans have started to cutting the cord and ditching traditional cable packages. In response to this growing dissatisfaction, the MLB has started to offer more alternatives for fans who want to watch out-of-market games. For example, MLB.TV allows fans to purchase individual game packages or subscribe to a season-long pass that provides access to every out-of-market game.

Although these alternatives are helpful, they still come with some significant limitations. For example, MLB.TV is only available for use on certain devices and it is subject to blackout restrictions in areas with significant team overlap. Additionally, the individual game packages are relatively expensive when compared to other sports leagues like the NFL or NBA.

The bottom line is that Yankees games are blacked out because of the MLB’s blackout policy. This policy is intended to protect local broadcasters from having their ratings cannibalized by out-of=market game broadcasts. Although the policy has some potential benefits, it has also been increasingly unpopular in recent years. As a result, the MLB has started to offer more alternatives for fans who want to watch out-of=market games.

Why the Yankees Continue to Blackout Games

Despite being one of the most beloved and successful baseball teams, the New York Yankees blackout a lot of their games. Why do they do this?

This occurs because of something called the MLB blackout rule. The rule state that if a game is not being shown on national television, it will be blacked out in the local market of the team playing. So, if you live in New York and the Yankees are playing a game that is not on national TV, you will be unable to watch it.

The reason for this rule is to incentivize people to buy a MLB TV package, which allows you to watch any game you want. This package costs around $120 per year.

The blackout rule has been heavily criticized by fans, as it means that even though they may live close to the stadium, they are unable to watch their team play unless they purchase this MLB TV package.


The answer to this question is twofold. First, blackout restrictions are put in place by the MLB in order to protect local broadcast revenues. By preventing out-of-market fans from watching games on TV, the league ensures that more people will pay to see games in person or via their local broadcasters.

Second, the Yankees have been aggressive in recent years about signing exclusive TV rights deals that prevent other broadcasters from showing their games. These deals are worth billions of dollars to the team, and help to explain why the Yankees are one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports.

Scroll to Top