Big Changes to Local Streaming Coming, Rizzo the Hero, Schwarber the Wrestler, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Big Changes to Local Streaming Coming, Rizzo the Hero, Schwarber the Wrestler, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

It was a lot of fun to take in my first Bears game at Soldier Field yesterday. As a venue, Wrigley Field is better in almost every way in my opinion, but I still very much appreciated the experience. It’s wild to be crammed in with even more people in a sporting arena, and it wasn’t even a particularly intense crowd yesterday. Also: football fans on a Sunday afternoon appear to have a rowdiness factor rivaling that of the Wrigley Field bleachers on a Sunday night in July against the Cardinals.

  • There are no details just yet, but I think we can draw some logical conclusions, and it’s big news. At the Owners Meetings last week, the league approved the return of some in-market streaming rights to the teams … which is absolutely enormous news depending on what exactly is meant. The way Rob Manfred described the change, though, sounds extremely promising (Yahoo): “The biggest single change was the return of certain in-market digital rights — the rights that have essentially become substitutional with broadcast rights — those rights will return to the clubs.” A lot of explanation follows, but the TL;DR version is that I suspect teams will now control all their own streaming rights within their designated market.
  • For background, since the advent of two decades ago, MLB sagely retained all streaming rights to games, while allowing the individual teams to own their own *broadcast* rights in their designated market. Time was, those streaming rights weren’t hugely valuable anyway, so teams weren’t all that concerned about this arrangement, but obviously in the last five years, with the explosion of cord-cutting, teams increasingly would like to control their own streaming rights in their own territories (those games are blacked out on anyway, so why not let teams sell those streams locally?). On a piecemeal basis, MLB has worked with the teams and cable/satellite providers to make local streams available to authenticated subscribers (i.e., if you’re in Chicago and you subscribed to a cable package that included NBC Sports Chicago, then you could stream games through the NBC app). But with streaming now such an obvious need, and with services like YouTube TV and Hulu and Sling becoming more and more like traditional cable platforms (just in a “streaming” medium), it has made so much less sense to draw these distinctions.
  • My hope for fans (and for the Cubs, frankly) is that MLB and the owners made a common sense change to allow ALL rights – be they cable or streaming – to belong to the teams in their own territories. If that’s the case, then the Cubs could now sell the new Marquee Sports Network to any service in their territory (Illinois, Iowa, most of Indiana, and a little of southern Wisconsin and northern Ohio). Thus, anywhere in those areas, you’d have the choice of however you wanted to access Marquee – and you’d no longer have to worry about being blacked out (to be sure, you *would* still be blacked out on, but you’d be able to watch games through the Marquee subscription).
  • Chocolates, clothes, cat gear, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
  • Anthony Rizzo is the best:

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  • That’d be a crazy game to play:

  • From the Bears game, the mascot half-time game was light entertainment, during which Clark was clearly the best mascot athlete (he should’ve been credited with two touchdown passes, but the White Sox mascot, Southpaw, dropped a perfect pass in the end zone):

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.