Marquee Network signs exclusive Chicago Cubs deal

This Saturday, the Marquee Sports Network will make its debut as exclusive television home of the Chicago Cubs by airing the team’s first Spring Training game against the Oakland Athletics in Mesa, Arizona.

Formed by a partnership between the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Marquee fills a position that opened up when the Cubs parted ways with NBC Sports Chicago, according to a story that appeared today in the Chicago Tribune.

Last week, Marquee announced that former Cubs great Mark Grace and Big Ten Network (BTN) reporter Elise Menaker had joined its lineup of on-air personalities, which incudes Ryan Dempster, who will have a talk show on the network.

Additionally, WGN veteran Bob Vorwald joined Marquee in November with a mission to “bring his expansive knowledge of the storied franchise to the network’s production team,” according to a press release.

Although their insight and expertise — as well as the Cubs’ games and other sports-related content — will run on AT&T and RCN, Marquee and the Cubs have not signed a deal with Comcast. Yet.

“We have received the proposal from Marquee and are reviewing it,” said Jack Segal, a Comcast spokesman.

Streaming option
Fans who prefer streaming will also be able to watch on Hulu’s Hulu+ Live TV service, according to a deal announced today.

“We are thrilled to partner with Hulu and add them to our growing list of over 30 affiliates who will carry the network,” said Mike McCarthy, general manager, Marquee Sports Network. “We’ve heard from countless Hulu subscribers who were keenly interested to see their favorite baseball team. And now, they will!”

The streaming option follows a trend among sports fans.

Via the Tribune:

Traditional cable and satellite providers lost about six million subscribers last year, according to data from industry analysts MoffettNathanson. Those losses have been partially offset by gains in streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu and YouTube TV. The trend is likely to continue, with traditional cable expected to shed another 19 million subscribers by 2023, the firm said.

About Marquee Sports Network
Marquee Sports Network, a new regional sports network, is the exclusive television home of the Chicago Cubs. Marquee Sports Network will feature live game broadcasts from Chicago Cubs broadcasters, extensive pregame and postgame coverage, in-depth unique Cubs content and other local sports programming. The network is jointly owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.