When Bill Boland ’92 registered for Professor Terry Byrne’s Television Production 101 Class at the College in 1990, Derek Jeter was a sophomore at Kalamazoo (MI) Central High.
The franchise Jeter would soon help resurrect, the New York Yankees, had struck rock bottom with a record of 67-95 and a last-place finish in the American League East for the first time in 24 years.
Two decades later, Jeter and the Yankees are back on top and Boland is there to chronicle every play as the new senior producer for the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network.
“My first two years at college I was like any other undeclared student trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life,’’ Boland said. “Then I stumbled into (Byrne’s) class and sort of had this epiphany. It was one of the greatest classes I ever took and it suddenly became very clear what I wanted to do.”
After graduating, Boland worked at ABC Sports from 1994–2001. During his career he has helped produce some of television’s biggest sporting events, including Super Bowl XXXIV, Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis 500, and the Kentucky Derby. He also served as a production associate for NBC at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
“Since college, I have yet to get a paycheck that wasn’t from the television industry,’’ he said. Those pay stubs became more appealing this past January when the 40-year-old Boland became the lead producer on-site for the YES Network’s 150 game-day telecasts after several years spent coordinating the network’s pre- and post-game shows, among other duties. One of the network’s original hires in 2001, Boland has earned a combined seven national and New York Emmy Awards over his career, including five New York Emmys while at YES.
“I was one of the first 30 or 40 people hired and it was just a great feeling to build a new network from scratch,” said Boland from his home in Chatham. “To see how much we’ve grown, both from a production standpoint and on the business side, since those days is a pretty incredible feeling. But our service to the Yankees’ fan and the viewer is my number one concern.’’
It is that responsibility that drives Boland and his production team in the most demanding media market in the country, for the some of the most rabid fans in sports.
YES was one of the first regional sports networks to go High-Definition (HD), and its cutting-edge graphics are comparable to, or often are superior, to those used by national outlets such as Fox and ESPN. In August, the Yankees and YES reached a multi-year agreement with Verizon FiOS TV to stream games live to broadband subscribers online.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time,’’ said Boland, a communications major at the College. “We consider ourselves comparable to a national network and take great pride in that. The beauty of baseball is the story grows every day and you never know where the next story is going to be. I always have the viewer in mind when I produce a show and I can’t think of a better scenario than producing for the World Champions.’’