New York yankees, National

YES Network has beaten the buzzer and launched its direct-to-consumer streaming service about 24 hours before Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.

And this reporter may have been one of the first to sign up.

It will be $24.99 a month or $239.99 a year. Those who sign up by April 30 will get a discounted rate ($19.99 a month or $199.99 for a year). The monthly rate cut ends in January.

You figure the bulk of the YES subscriptions will be monthly ones; Yankees fans will sign up in March, cancel in October and then repeat the cycle again. But if you are a Nets or Liberty fan as well, or just love watching the simulcast of “The Michael Kay Show,” the annual package makes sense for you.

Worth noting: The monthly YES rate is cheaper than the monthly rate for MSG’s streaming service, which will launch in the summer and also be confined to the tri-state area and northeastern Pennsylvania)

There are several ways to look at that disparity. MSG does have five professional teams while YES has three. But four of them are hockey teams. The Yankees also provide more inventory than the Knicks if we are comparing the flagship teams on each service. But, one could argue, it is harder to go watch the Knicks in person for an average fan than the Bombers, which means MSG can charge a premium.

Anyway, kudos to YES for getting it done. This is a much-needed move for the Yankees and their fans. Watching the bulk of the Yankees’ regular season games had become challenging in the cord-cutting era. YES is not available on any of the major streaming services and only so many people want or know how to use a VPN service to trick MLB.TV and get around blackout rules. And the fact the Mets and SNY are so readily available had to be considered as well.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.