YES Most-Watched Regional Sports Net

On the way to claiming their 27th Major League Baseball title, the New York Yankees helped set another milestone in 2009, as the ballclub’s dedicated cable channel was the most-watched regional sports network in the U.S.

YES Network closed out the broadcast year with an average prime time draw of 82,000 households in the New York DMA, up 14 percent from the 72,000 HHs it averaged in the previous year. Despite sharing the DMA with the Mets and SportsNet New York and the Cablevision-owned MSG, YES outdistanced its crosstown rivals, which together averaged 80,000 HHs in prime.

Boston’s NESN, which faces no local competition, averaged 76,000 HHs in the nation’s seventh-largest DMA. YES out-delivered NESN by a 7 percent margin.

YES finished the 2009 Major League Baseball season with a 4.62 average TV HH rating for its Yankees telecasts, a 10 percent increase over its 2008 average. The Yanks enjoyed their second highest-rated campaign since 2007, when YES posted a 4.69 average.

On March 19, YES will celebrate its eighth anniversary. Owned by Yankee Global Enterprises (Goldman Sachs holds a minority stake), the RSN also carries New Jersey Nets games. For reasons that may be self-evident to viewers in the Tri-State area, YES did not break out its ratings for the woeful Nets, a team that has compiled a 3-34 record with a month to go before the NBA All-Star break.

YES took in $400 million in total revenue in 2008, per industry estimates.