Yankees Join With Goldman Sachs on Promotional Effort
The Yankees, however, command respect for how successful they've been with their YES Network. Goldman helped the network get off the ground with a $350 million initial investment at a time when there was some doubt about its viability.
In the latest aspect of its image-boosting campaign, Goldman has begun touting its foresight in taking the YES gamble and ability to help execute the Yankees' vision. The centerpiece is a short online film (four and a half minutes), where top Yankees and YES executives plug Goldman's contributions to the network's success.
Goldman executives offer a similar prideful message. "This is really now part of the playbook in (being) a professional sports team," says Goldman's David Castelblanco. "Once we were successful, it was very clear to all the other teams out there that they could do the same."
Not lost is the leitmotif of happy network employees in the video. In two previous short films, Goldman has sought to advance a helping-Main Street message with stories of seeding construction of a new arena in Louisville and revitalizing a post-Katrina New Orleans.
As part of its new promotion linked with YES, Goldman is running banner ads on the New York Times and Washington Post Web sites, encouraging click-throughs to the video. The film has also been refashioned into a 15-second ad that's been used as a pre-roll on MSNBC.com. There is no TV.
Goldman continues to have a minority stake in YES as do the Yankees. The network is in about 15 million homes could be worth billions of dollars.
In the film, Yankees COO Lonn Trost mentions how long-time Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner had a vision of a 24/7 network about his team as far back as 1981.
When talks escalated in 2001, Trost says that "we were fortunate to meet with Goldman Sachs." Yankees, YES and Goldman executives all speak about a partnership that developed between them to move the process along. Goldman's big bucks are cited, but gently.
"They had the financial wherewithal, the ability to broker deals so that disparate parties can actually get something done, get it accomplished," says YES CEO Tracy Dolgin.
"I think (the Yankees) were pretty honest with themselves that putting together a new business would put their franchise at risk because they were responsible for putting this on television ... bringing us together and bringing the capital in, we added a lot of value in helping them pull this whole (venture) together," says Goldman's Rich Friedman.
In promotional material, Goldman says the funding announcement for YES came in September 2001, one day before 9/11, but as financial uncertainty followed Goldman "stood by its commitment to the concept and increased its investment." The network, which airs Yankees games and shoulder programming, launched before the 2002 season.
Since then, Goldman says it has helped finance construction of the new Yankee Stadium and link the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys so they could jointly launch Legends Hospitality, which offers high-end concessions in the respective team's stadiums.
The high-energy video is splendidly produced under the aegis of agency Y&R. Shot in black and white, it weaves Goldman endorsements with shots of New York, Yankee stadium and comments from a slew of YES employees - COO Ray Hopkins; ad sales head Howard Levinson; human resources vice president Nicole Zussman (who mentions the 150 employees); producers and more.
At one point, Dolgin mentions not only has YES had a heavy influence on the sports industry, it's "changed people's lives."
Any Goldman role in doing that for the positive these days is obviously a much needed.