Food, Travel and Tech

The New York Yankees are worth $6 billion, but players still need to pay $9 for Wi-Fi on team flights

New York Yankees captain Aaron Judge has a nine-year, $360 million contract, but doesn't get free WiFi on team flights.
Erick W. Rasco | Sports Illustrated | Getty Images

The New York Yankees are worth $6 billion, enough to make them the fourth most valuable team in the world. They play in a $2.3 billion stadium and are entering the 2023 season with a payroll of roughly $270 million.

Despite all of that, they are one of the only teams in Major League Baseball that forces players to pay for in-flight WiFi if they want to surf the web while traveling on the team jet.

That's according to a report in Sports Illustrated, which interviewed several players on the Yankees and across the league about the Bronx Bombers' penny pinching policy.

Yankees players have to shell out $9 for Delta's in-flight Wi-Fi every flight if they want to get online. According to the report, the only other organization that doesn't offer free internet on flights are the small-market Cincinnati Reds.

While some Yankees pay up, others get around the policy by getting WiFi access through their T-Mobile plans, which is a Delta partner. Others simply opt to read a book instead.

Former Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon told Sports Illustrated that he wouldn't pay for internet.

"I didn't pay for it, on principle," he said. "I will say, also, the Yankees fly on a pretty cool custom plane with poker tables and stuff. So I would take that over free Wi-Fi, if I'm being honest."

Yankee Stadium cost $2.3 billion to build.
New York Daily News Archive | New York Daily News | Getty Images

With the lowest-earning player on the team still bringing in $1.3 million this season, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he isn't too concerned about players needing to dip into their savings.

"I think most of our players can afford it," he said.

But there might be a reprieve on the horizon for the Bronx Bombers. CNBC Make It reported earlier this year that Delta Air Lines is rolling out free Wi-Fi to all passengers by the end of 2024.

More than 700 Delta aircraft will be equipped with "best-in-class in-flight connectivity" by the end of 2023, with all "international and regional aircraft" having free internet by the end of 2024.

A representative for the Yankees didn't immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

DON'T MISS: Want to be smarter and more successful with your money, work & life? Sign up for our new newsletter!

Get CNBC's free Warren Buffett Guide to Investing, which distills the billionaire's No. 1 best piece of advice for regular investors, do's and don'ts, and three key investing principles into a clear and simple guidebook.

How a 26-year-old graduate student making $32,000/year spends his money
How a 26-year-old graduate student making $32,000/year spends his money