Remember Sara Sanchez’ article about YouTube TV breaking off negotiations with Sinclair and pulling the Fox regional sports networks off their service? That hinted that the Marquee Network might have trouble getting onto YouTube TV, since it’s also partly owned by Sinclair.
Of course you remember that article. It was posted here just yesterday.
In the words of the late, great Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over till it’s over”:
Negotiations are still underway! In the meantime, we've agreed to a temporary extension. FOX RSNs and YES Network are still available on YT TV while we work to reach an agreement. We’ll send out an update as soon as we have more info on a resolution.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 29, 2020
And so... as I suspected when I first heard that YouTube TV was pulling the Fox RSNs and the Yankees’ YES Network, this was a negotiating ploy. It happens all the time in these sorts of negotiations between various channels and service providers. This has been common practice for a long time with cable/satellite providers, and now it’s happening with streaming services.
What is, of course, unknown at this time is the status of those negotiations. Who has the upper hand here? Did YouTube TV “cave” to Sinclair? Did Sinclair put pressure on YouTube TV in some way? We just don’t know. Nor are we likely to until either a) a deal is made or b) YouTube TV goes the way of Dish Network and simply moves on from regional sports networks. The latter seems unlikely, because YouTube TV already carries ESPN and other sports channels and it seems many subscribed to that streaming service for that reason. In the end, I think they’ll make a deal.
Presuming they do, that likely includes the Marquee Network, since Marquee is part-owned by Sinclair.
I have counseled patience throughout the saga of Marquee negotiating deals with various providers. I continue to counsel patience. It should be noted that if you don’t have access to Marquee, what you are missing are spring training games that the Cubs didn’t televise in previous years anyway. I do think the Cubs missed the boat one one thing, though — with the uncertainty of Marquee coverage during spring training, they probably should have kept the internet webcasts of games they’ve had over the last few years. They could have even simulcast Marquee’s audio online. But, that’s water under the bridge at this point.
Anyone who says they “know” exactly where the Marquee Network will be seen within the Cubs’ market territory on Opening Day is wrong. In my view, the likely happening is that the network will be available on YouTube TV — and probably Comcast/Xfinity, too — when the Cubs take the field March 26 in Milwaukee, even if those deals are signed just before the game starts. Similar down-to-the-wire (or even later!) deals have been made in the past. You can read about some of them here.
They’ve still got almost four weeks. Patience.