During Chicago’s 8-0 drubbing of the Royals at Sloan Park on Wednesday news broke that Marquee Network had reached a carriage agreement with the broadband internet provider WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone. According to Marquee Sports Network general manager Mike McCarthy, “WOW! is the fourth largest provider in Chicago and an important part of our distribution landscape.” WOW! will join the more than 40 carriage providers who have already signed deals with Marquee and subscribers will be able to enjoy live Cubs games beginning on March 13.
WOW! serves tens of thousands of subscribers in the Chicagoland area. Here’s the specific coverage area from a Cubs/Marquee press release:
WOW! serves customers on Chicago’s south side (Calumet, Oak Forest, Hammond, Indiana) in the western suburbs (Naperville, Glendale Heights) and in the northwest suburbs (Elgin, Schaumburg, Mt Prospect, Arlington Heights).
Today’s deal is good news for thousands of Cubs fans who are now ensured they’ll be able to watch the Cubs on Opening Day. However, Comcast/Xfinity, Dish Network and YouTube TV subscribers in the city are still expressing frustration that the largest carrier in Chicago has yet to ink a deal with Marquee with Opening Day just 29 days away. That frustration is evident in the responses to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers’ tweet announcing this deal earlier today:
Wow no one cares. Get Comcast— ✌ (@chitownsports44) February 26, 2020
Announce YouTube TV already— Buck Dancer (@buckdanc3r) February 26, 2020
While it certainly helps the Cubs’ negotiating posture to ink deals with the main competitors of the providers they haven’t signed deals with yet, I imagine fans’ angst will just grow as the season inches closer without those deals in place.