CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group are launching a regional sports network in 2020 that will be the team's exclusive TV home.
The Cubs said Wednesday the Marquee Sports Network will carry live game broadcasts and pregame and postgame coverage. Cubs games will be in one place, instead of split between two broadcast stations. The Cubs signed five-year contracts with WGN and WLS in 2014 ahead of plans for the network launch in 2020.
The team's games have been on WGN for more than 70 years. Before cable TV became a staple in the Twin Cities in the 1980s, the earliest cable systems in and around the area, including Bloomington's and St. Cloud's, typically included WGN as part of their offering.
Others in Minnesota featured Atlanta's WTBS, turning many people into fans of the Cubs and Atlamnta's baseball team. Twins games of that era were not broadcast with nearly the same frequency.
Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley tells the Chicago Tribune negotiations are underway to sign up cable and satellite providers and streaming services for the new Cubs-themed network.
Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney expressed confidence fans will have many ways to watch, saying the team expects "to have more distribution with the new network than we have today."
The Chicago Tribune reports: "Change has been in the air for several years. The Cubs signed five-year deals with WGN and WLS after the 2014 season, with the plan of launching the regional sports network beginning in 2020. The team also ended its longtime national platform on WGN America after the 2014 season."
Sinclair’s president and CEO, Chris Ripley, told the Tribune: " 'We have strong relationships with cable companies and satellite operators,That is a key function we will fill here.'Ripley expressed confidence in getting not only cable and satellite providers, but streaming services to sign up for the new Cubs network. Negotiations are underway."