One of the best sports brands in the world—the NY Yankees—is about to become more clearly defined. After 5 years of programming (Mar 19), YES Net is launching Apr 1 a standalone HD channel, just in time to catch Jeter, A-Rod & Co open the ’07 season the following day. DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision will all carry the net. Every Yankee and NJ Nets contest, plus pre- and post-game coverage, will hit the new channel, which begins with roughly 8 programming hours/day, said COO Ray Hopkins. YES is also expanding its interactive baseball app on DirecTV, overall usage of which jumped 27% during last season. Added will be more real-time stats, score updates and access to a “bonus camera” during away games, as well. “Over the next 5 years you’ll see us morphing into a digital company,” said Hopkins. To that end, the net inked a deal with Google for a dedicated channel, slated to offer a variety of YES content.