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YES, DirecTV Interact

Some New York Yankees fans with DirecTV can now easily keep track of how competitors are doing while watching their favorite team swing for the fences.

DirecTV Inc.’s new interactive service via Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network lets DirecTV subscribers in the New York market with an interactive set-top box get out-of-town scores, Yankees statistics, Major League Baseball standings and in-game box scores via remote — while watching the Bronx Bombers live.

The service launched two weeks ago, and a third of capable subscribers have already used the new on-screen features, DirecTV executive vice president Eric Shanks said.

DirecTV would not reveal New York-area subscriber figures, but more than half of those customers are believed to have the interactive-capable box.

In addition to statistics from Major League Baseball Advanced Media, DirecTV customers can call up a second video feed providing live game coverage from a different vantage point than the primary YES feed. That BonusCam feature is available only for Yankees home telecasts, but YES CEO Tracy Dolgin hopes it will also be used with road games next season.

DirecTV wants an edge over cable competitors. But Dolgin said cable distributors could tap some interactive features with YES in the future. Interactivity also could create new advertising opportunities, but YES isn’t planning to secure any sponsors this season, Dolgin said.

Other regional sports networks are said to be interested, but Shanks said YES will be the only network deploying the new interactive features this year.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.