The Marquee Network is set to launch in February 2020, and the great news for the Cubs is that they already have their first big carriage deal. On Thursday, Sinclair released a statement, announcing a deal with DIRECTV, AT&T TV, and U-verse, which includes the Marquee Sports Network.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI), and AT&T have agreed on a multi-year agreement across DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse for continued carriage of Sinclair’s owned local broadcast stations and Tennis Channel, for future carriage of Marquee Sports Network, a regional sports network featuring games of the Chicago Cubs launching in 2020, as well as for the 21 RSN brands Sinclair recently acquired and the YES Network, in which Sinclair is a joint-venture partner.
This is great news, as the Cubs have at least one major carriage deal in the bag. Yet, no more details are out just yet in terms of how much Marquee will charge for the channel.
But hey, the Cubs are already ahead of the Dodgers, who despite having an enormous TV contract, still haven’t been able to agree on a deal with DirecTV, limiting the amount of Dodgers fans who can watch them play in the LA area. These are creative ways to try to bring in additional revenue with the current state of cable TV and the market in general.
So, one carriage deal done for the Cubs before the offseason begins. Plenty of time to negotiate with other cable providers and even though it wasn’t a major concern, there should be enough resources for the front office to do some productive work on the baseball side this winter. Top payroll in 2020, we’re gonna hold you to that, Crane Kenney.
Comcast, DISH, Spectrum, RCN, and WOW are the other major providers that Sinclair still needs to get a deal done within the Chicago area to have Cubs games available to as many fans as possible beginning in 2020.