YES Network kept broadcast team home for Kyrie Irving debut due to COVID

YES Network Brooklyn Nets
A reporter for the YES Network talks on the court before the Los Angeles Lakers play against the Brooklyn Nets.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Nets made the trip to Indiana on Wednesday, but the YES Network broadcast team of Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok and Michael Grady remained in Brooklyn.

As COVID-19 cases continued to spike, YES opted not to send its talent on the road for the much-anticipated return of Kyrie Irving, a network spokesperson confirmed to amNewYork Sports and The Brooklyn Game. COVID cases have continued to spike in the five boroughs as well as around the country due to the Omicron variant.

“The health and safety of our employees always comes first. We are approaching each road trip on a case-by-case basis,” a YES Network spokesperson said in an email.

Eagle, Kustok and Grady called Wednesday’s game from a setup inside the Barclays Center. The Nets matchup with the Pacers, which also served as Kyrie Irving’s season debut, averaged 156,000 Total Viewers in the New York market.

It was the most-viewed Nets game on YES Network since January 20, 2021, when an average of 159,000 total viewers tuned in to watch the Nets play the Cleveland Cavaliers.

YES Network announced in late December that it had seen a 38% increase in viewership compared to 2019. It was also the network’s bets Nets viewership start in the past eight seasons.

The Nets will play 10 of their next 17 games on the road, which includes a five-game West Coast swing to end the month of February. Brooklyn also has a two-game trip coming up next week that will start in Portland on Monday then take them to Chicago on Wednesday for a big game against the East-leading Bulls.

Brooklyn owns the NBA’s best road record at 14-3.