Could coronavirus cause Marquee Sports Network trouble down the road?

The Chicago Cubs‘ new joint TV venture, Marquee Sports Network, is likely being hit by the pandemic reports Crain’s Chicago Business.

Marquee launched in February 2020 but had not, as of then, inked a carriage deal with Comcast’s Xfinity, one of the Chicagoland’s biggest players in TV — commanding about half of the entire market.

The network is available on DirecTV, RCN and AT&T.

However, with MLB and, by extension, the Cubs’ seasons on hold, the network, which is a joint venture between the team and Sinclair Broadcast Group, has left with big programming gaps — which likely isn’t helping build interest in the network.

In addition, the network’s business model relies heavily on carriage fees that cable providers pay Marquee and then pass along at least some of that cost to subscribers.

In , a deal with , at Marquee’s current asking price, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $72 million a year in revenue to the channel, according to reporting.

With cord cutting already chipping away at traditional TV providers, the economic fallout from the pandemic is likely to put another dent in subscriber counts as customer cancel or cut back on their pay TV packages.


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