Monday, we learned of the Marquee Sports Network signing a deal to carry Cubs games on the streaming service Hulu + Live.
Also Monday, the online publication Cord Cutters News posted this article hinting that the Marquee Network might wind up on an Amazon streaming service:
When you enter a zip code and select Amazon TV as your provider Sinclair’s Marquee Sports Network’s website it gives you this message “Unfortunately, Marquee Sports Network is not available on Amazon TV. But you can help! Reach out to them and ask them to carry Marquee Sports Network.” From there, it supplies a link to Amazon.com/TV, but as of right now, that just redirects to buy TV sets or the Amazon Prime Video when you try to follow the link.
So, the question is raised: Is Amazon considering adding the Marquee Network to its selection of live channels on Amazon Prime? The publication added this update to its article early Tuesday:
Update: Amazon has told Cord Cutters News that they have not announced any service called Amazon TV at this time. We have reached out to learn more and will post updates as we learn more.
Nevertheless, this might wind up being another option for Cubs fans to watch games this season. We await developments, as always, and I also wanted to note that the list of carriers in the drop-down on the Marquee Network website includes some that have already made deals with Marquee (example: DIRECTV), but also lists some that aren’t signed up with the network, including Xfinity/Comcast, WOW, fuboTV and YouTube TV. Clicking on any of them brings up information on how to contact the carrier to let them know you are a customer and want them to sign up with Marquee. I would urge anyone here who is a subscriber to a service that does not yet carry Marquee to call or email that service, or reach out to them on social media, to ask for them to sign up for Marquee.
I’m starting that process myself. Last night I sent out a tweet to Xfinity/Comcast (the carrier I subscribe to) letting them know I’d like them to sign up and got this response:
I'm a big baseball fan too so I get where you're coming from! Within that link, there is another link to submit your suggestion: https://t.co/AP7dYvlHZ0. Thank you again for your feedback and business with us! -EW— Comcast Business (@comcastbusiness) February 18, 2020
The more the merrier, I’d say, no matter who your carrier is, I’d recommend contacting them in any way you can to let them know you’d like them to sign up with Marquee.
On a related note, even if the carrier you subscribe to isn’t carrying the Marquee Network during spring training, there will be five Cubs games carried live on MLB Network during the spring season. They are:
Monday, March 2, at Athletics, 8:05 p.m. CT
Tuesday, March 10, at Giants, 3:05 p.m. CT
Thursday, March 12, vs. Dodgers, 3:05 p.m. CT
Friday, March 13, at White Sox, 3:05 p.m. CT
Wednesday, March 18, at Royals, 3:05 p.m. CT
Unfortunately for those of you in the Cubs market territory, only the March 2 game vs. the A’s is a full national broadcast. The other four will be blacked out on MLBN in the Cubs’ market, but I believe you can still watch these via MLB.TV if you are in-market. The Cubs are a split squad on March 2; the 2:05 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Sloan Park will be carried as a full national broadcast on ESPN.
In addition, 18 Cubs spring games will be rebroadcast on MLB Network after the game is over. I’ll note these games and times in each day’s game preview.
Have faith. I’m reasonably certain Marquee and Comcast will reach an agreement before Opening Day. As noted by Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney on Monday:
Is opening day the real deadline for Comcast?
There is no real deadline, but obviously March 26 is the unofficial deadline.
“Everyone has their own timetable,” Kenney said. “I would think, personally, that opening day would be pretty important to Comcast.”
I reached out to Comcast for comment. Jack Segal, Comcast’s Chicago region VP for communications, told me, “We’ve received the proposal and are reviewing it.” In my email, added that I am a Comcast/Xfinity customer and very much hoped I would be able to watch Cubs baseball at home when the season begins. To that, he replied, “Thanks for your input from the customer perspective. I will pass it along.”
While those sound like fairly generic answers, I will say that Segal got back to me within a couple of hours after I sent my email, so they were at least responsive.
Lastly, some of you have asked about the possibility of getting Marquee’s non-game programming if you live outside the Cubs market territory. At The Athletic, Patrick Mooney reports the Cubs are considering doing exactly that:
The Cubs, however, are exploring the idea of selling Marquee outside their geographic footprint, making available the rest of the network’s programming – highlight shows, documentaries and old games from the WGN library. The Yankees’ YES Network, for example, has a presence in Florida for their fans and New York transplants.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts got booed at the Cubs Convention when he mentioned the Marquee Network. Among his responses, which he reiterated in my interview with him Monday: “A year from now, you won’t be booing.”
If the Cubs can complete all the deals noted in this article, Ricketts is almost certainly correct.
As they say in the TV biz: Stay tuned.