clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cub Tracks’ quotidian details

All the #Cubs, #MLB, and #MiLB news you can use, four days a week. We hit the windmill so hard that the dust flew off the back of it in our quixotic quest for the truth.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to today’s edition of Cub Tracks news and notes™, a greatest-hits collection of Chicago-style beat writers and bloggers, ground from #Cubs, #MiLB, and #MLB baseball, overheated, steeped in writers’ tears, and then cold-brewed overnight for maximum flavor.

Sorry, Cole Wright — ‘overnight acid jazz dj’ is not a suitable persona or delivery for a sport that some are bent on popularizing. Maybe if you played some Liquid Soul instead of talking? Though I admit I did enjoy Cliff Floyd’s laconic persona, and appreciated that he asked good questions during the otherwise interminable David Ross interview.

I feel a rant coming on.

My guess is that they don’t do those interview segments during the pregame or postgame because there are a LOT of out-of-market viewers and they’re trying to reach us, or at least not to abandon us entirely.. We all know how well the Cubs travel. I’d love to have that out-of-market viewership data but so far it’s unavailable. I do recall that the Marquee viewership shrank by more than 50% as of last fall ({Chicago Tribune-$}).

“We launched into a headwind,” said Crane Kenney, president of business operations for the Cubs. “We had a pandemic when we launched, but also cord-cutting had become a big obstacle.”

I know the Cubs had 2.6 million paying customers last year, according to the Tribune, and were ninth in road attendance. Marquee clearly needs to emulate WGN’s out-of-market penetration, and just as clearly are not doing so. Right now, they’re quixotic, and need a better model than the MLB Network, at any rate, who have issues of their own, to wit:

MLB Network losing their deal with YouTube TV over carriage fees happily paid by other channels is indicative of their mismanagement of that situation. Google reports that the provider has over a hundred million subscribers, despite a recent price increase. This is especially galling given the below, from Variety:

The standoff between YouTube TV and MLB Network comes after Google just inked a rich deal for NFL’s Sunday Ticket on YouTube — which, for the first time starting with the 2023 season, will be available to anyone in the U.S. without the purchase of a pay-TV package (as has been the case with long-time distributor DirecTV).

Just more information to add to the mountain. Salt for the wound, as it were. No looking back, Sisyphus. Is Google extorting the MLB Network? Probably. Do they have the reach to do it successfully? Also, probably. It ain’t good.

Establishing a national network, like the one Al wrote about, would go a long way toward fixing the issues, except for that damned carriage fee. So MLB.TV is still the only game in town. That makes fixing the blackouts a priority for any local network, as MLB.TV carries their feed(s). MLB.TV and MLB Network are separate entities only to a point. They certainly operate hand-in-glove... and would be best-served by working out how to finagle a deal similar to the NFL’s. They have to fix THIS {$}.

In brief, it’s lawyers all the way down. It always is. We await developments.

* means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome). {$} means paywall. {$} means limited views. Italics are often used on this page as sarcasm font. The powers that be have enabled sarcasm font in the comments.

Food for Thought:

Please be reminded that Cub Tracks and Bleed Cubbie Blue do not necessarily endorse the opinions of writers whose work is linked to in this series of articles. Thanks for reading!