Yankees Make an Unbeatable Marketing Play with Avid

When the Yankees shoot a “day in the life of Derek Jeter” segment for Yankees On Demand, a weekly hour-long program of exclusive Yankees content, they rely on an end-to-end Avid workflow specifically constructed for sports marketers.

From editing to media asset management and storage, this recently-installed set of solutions has given the team a sports marketing makeover that enables them to create exciting experiences for fans and build a compelling franchise brand.

Today, NY Yankees editors can leverage a file-based WAN workflow to work on partially edited pieces from a laptop in Florida during spring training and ship content back to New York for fast capture and delivery.  From there, iconic footage of memorable plays or players can be added without having to access source tape.

Yankees video

New Stadium, New Avid

It is no coincidence the advent of Avid came with the building of the new stadium.  As is often the case with today’s professional sports teams, the building of a stadium is concomitant to the acquisition of a wholly new production system.  Creating the most engaging fan experience possible is the key to building a competitive franchise on the brand level. 

“Today, we can tell our fans about upcoming promotions, edit small packages to highlight the in-stadium steak house and Hard Rock Café, suites, tickets, and all the different ventures we’ve got going around here,” says Greg Colello, Producer, Scoreboard and Broadcasting.  “In addition, there are off-season college football games, concerts and special events and player shoots that keep everyone’s plate full.”

But it wasn’t always this way.  This kind of marketing production evolved from relatively humble beginnings.  “In our old stadium,” explains Colello, “everything was SD.  We had one Media Composer and one Mojo we used for a couple of years.  When it came time to build the new stadium, though, management asked for our input about what kind of systems we wanted and we told them.”

Greg and his crew chose Avid hands down.  “Avid to us is the industry standard in terms of editing,” he says, “and we like to feel that as the Yankees, we’re kind of the industry standard for baseball. So having the two go hand in hand is a pretty good marriage.”

Sports-centric Workflow in Play

In the new stadium, the Yankees have a complete sports-centric Avid workflow in play, comprised of 4 Media Composer editing systems, 48 terabytes of ISIS storage, an Interplay production asset management system providing editors with access to any piece of content at any time, and Transfer Manager software to move that content from editing station to clip server and play it out directly to the scoreboard.

With this workflow package, the Yankees production group can produce all the content the organization needs, not only helping the team make money through incremental revenue generators like the steak house and luxury suites, but save money by producing promotions in house rather than outsourcing.

Stimulating Profit and Creativity

Stimulating both profit and creativity, the new Avid workflow has spawned fan competitions like the “subway race,” with subway-esque trains shown racing through Manhattan and making it to Yankee Stadium while fans root for their favorite train.  Another is a cap game, modeled on Three-card Monte, where fans have to guess which cap a baseball is under.

Doing more with less wasted effort has become what it’s all about for everyone involved.  Editors can now set up bins labeled, “historic footage,” or “rally footage,” or “player footage,” or any designation of choice in the Interplay system.  Once these have been established, they can not only search, retrieve and replace footage, but use it repeatedly in a virtually limitless array of vehicles, from television spots and scoreboard highlights to taxi cab ads.

“For instance,” comments Brandon Mihm, Yankees On Demand Producer, “if I need a shot of CC Sabathia with the fist pump in the ’09 World Series, I don’t have to go down in the vault looking for it anymore.  I just type in CC ’09, ALDS, or ALCS, and boom, up it pops.”

“Right now,” Colello chimes in, “I’m working on a video about Yogi Berra, who’s getting a lifetime achievement award at a dinner coming up.  All I have to do is open my Interplay window, search for Yogi, and tons of footage pops up.  It makes my life a whole lot easier.”

 Avid understands how important the fans and getting the job done are to us.
Michael Bonner, Senior Director, Scoreboard and Broadcasting, New York Yankees

Quality is Key

From the production team’s perspective, it would be virtually impossible to do what they do without the level of quality Avid brings to the stadium.

“Everything we do is contained in the Avid workflow,” says Michael Bonner, Senior Director of Scoreboard and Broadcasting, “from what we shoot on game day, take in and play out of the EVS server, to higher production level work.  If these systems didn’t work as well as they do to get content to the scoreboard, Yankees.com, and television, we’d be in a lot of trouble.”

“We just can’t afford to fail,” declares Pete Gergely, Yankees On Demand co-producer.  “Just one day down could make us fall behind a week, because games keep happening, and we have to keep up.  But when occasional things do happen, and we need a system restart, or there’s a problem we can’t figure out, it’s great to know Avid support is there, ready and waiting to help us get things straightened out.”

Feeling Good About Avid

One of the more satisfying benefits of this recent marketing makeover is how it has reflected on the Yankees organization as a whole.

“I had Michael Eisner come in here,” Bonner comments, “and he said, ‘Wow!  This is very similar to some of the things we have at Disney, maybe even a little bit nicer.’ It was very flattering and one of the many reasons partnering with Avid just gives us a good feeling."