This Chicago team (finally) officially announces it’s launching its own sports network

Well, it’s finally official. Ending what was probably one of the worst kept secrets in Chicago TV, the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced they will launch a network for the Cubs.

  • The new network, titled Marquee Sports Network after the iconic marquee on the Cub’s historic Wrigley Field home, will launch in February 2020.
  • Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will still be the voices of the Cubs on the network.
  • As a result of the deal, independent WGN and ABC O&O WLS will lose their broadcast rights to Cubs games.
  • WGN had been airing Cubs games since 1948 and revamped the graphics package it uses for Cubs and other local games in 2018.
  • WLS inked a five year deal in 2014 after WGN “voluntarily” gave up a select number of games per season.
  • Marquee is expected to be a cable channel, with Sinclair and the Cubs negotiating with local providers such as AT&T, Comcast plus satellite providers. The cost Marquee charges to add the channel to the lineup could affect cable package pricing.
  • It’s also worth noting that since the games will no longer be on an over the air broadcaster, viewers will essentially be forced to pay to watch television coverage of Cubs games — that is have a cable or satellite package that includes the network.
  • Select Cubs games that are part of MLB’s larger deal with ESPN and other networks will air on those networks instead.
  • Outside of baseball season or when games can’t be carried due to other agreements, the channel is expected to remain an all sports offering, with plans to air spring training games.
  • Previously the Cubs had also dropped out of a deal with NBC Sports Chicago.