Chicago Cubs launching Marquee Sports Network with Sinclair Broadcasting in 2020

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Cubs launching Marquee Sports Network in 2020
The Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday that the team is launching a new regional sports network with Sinclair Broadcasting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday that the team is launching a new regional sports network with Sinclair Broadcasting.

The new network will be called Marquee Sports Network and will be the exclusive home station for Chicago Cubs games beginning in 2020.

"We are excited to better serve our fans with expanded and exclusive programming showcasing our remarkable players, beloved ballpark and storied past," said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. "Our dedicated 'Cubs-centric' network will carry all available Cubs games and feature uncompromising, in-depth and behind-the-scenes coverage."

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The Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group say that fans will get unprecedented coverage of the team 24/7. Expect live game broadcasts and extensive pre-game and post-game coverage along with other Cubs content.

"I think it's good," said Cubs fan Ryan Schneider. "You have to keep up with everybody else. I mean, I know the Yankees and some other teams have them."

This new regional sports network will now become the exclusive television home of the Cubs, marking the end of Cubs broadcasts on WGN, ABC7 and NBC Sports Chicago. The new marriage with Sinclair, which is one of the largest television broadcasting companies, means the Cubs will have built-in leverage with cable providers, unlike some teams which have had trouble in the past getting cable companies to sign on.

"The partnership with Sinclair is the Cubs way of trying to avoid the difficulties that the Yankee and Dodgers had with their own baseball networks," said sports analyst Lester Munson.

"This partnership brings together one of the most iconic sports franchises in the country with one of the largest television broadcasting companies," commented Sinclair's President and CEO Chris Ripley. "It is hard to imagine any content that is more unique and valuable than the live sports entertainment the Cubs have been delivering to their fans for more than a century. Sinclair's strength in production, distribution and local sales will support bringing more content to more viewers, all while leveraging the latest technology."

A Cubs spokesperson tells ABC7 most fans likely have cable, and now the games won't compete with other teams or programming on other networks. But how much deeper will fans have to dig to watch? The organization says it's too early to say since no one has agreed to pick up the network yet.

"The era of a free broadcast of a Cubs game is now over," Munson said.

A Cubs spokesperson said this partnership with Sinclair will be very lucrative for the organization, but he would not discuss the financial details. And the revenue could mean the Cubs could pay top dollar for top talent.