One of the stories of the offseason has been the Cubs launching the Marquee Network and their ongoing battles with Comcast to get the channel picked up by the carrier with the largest number of subscribing households in Chicago. I revisited that story yesterday because the animus on social media from Cubs fans who knew they wouldn’t have access to Marquee has been palpable. It’s felt like just one more ingredient in a stew of resentment that has been building up between Cubs fans and ownership.
But as one of the 30 percent (or so) of households in the Chicago metro area subscribed to a carrier (RCN) that had a deal in place with Marquee I was feeling cautiously optimistic. After all, the deals might be slow, but the day was here. My Saturday was fully planned around waking up, getting some errands done, and being home in time for the debut of the Cubs new network at 1 p.m. Central Time. I even pre-tuned my TV to channel 679 in advance so I could rewind in case I was running a few minutes behind.
Well, for RCN customers in Chicago 1 p.m. came and went and still no Marquee Network:
After 10 or 15 minutes on hold, I decided to try RCN’s chat service, they were also too busy to talk:
Look, I can’t even imagine all of the moving parts that go into getting a channel on the air on dozens of different carriers. So I’m sympathetic that there would be glitches. However, it seems notable that these glitches weren’t in some isolated rural area of Iowa or Indiana, the glitches happened with one of the three largest deals the Cubs have signed so far. RCN serves over 550,000 households in Chicago.
So I turned to Twitter to get some reactions from fans who could actually see the debut:
I tell you what I love the app right now lol— Effingbees Apiary (@effingbees) February 22, 2020
Ive got DirecTV, I get the channel and honestly I like it so far, I really dig the fundaments segments with Sutcliffe and Hendricks and Gracie with Rizz.....and some behind the scenes stuff at Cubs Con with Javy which was cool.— Mike Engels (@mike12579) February 22, 2020
AT&T - U Verse & I love it so far. Love the behind the scenes and seeing the player personalities shine through.— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) February 22, 2020
Sounds like it was great. Wish I could have seen it.
At 1:57 p.m., just in time to see the tail end of the debut show (which I really hope Marquee Network will re-air, particularly considering the limited lineup so far) Marquee Network finally debuted for RCN subscribers in Chicago. Cole Wright and Ryan Dempster filled my screen and I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing I’ll be able to see their first spring training game this weekend (although Saturday’s game still could be rained out). The content looks incredible. I’m currently watching a countdown of the 10 best Cubs games of all time and pretty excited for this content. Although I will say, I have a lot more empathy for my Comcast friends and others who are worried they might not have access to Marquee in time for Opening Day.