If you’ve been around the Cubs-obsessed web today, you’ve likely seen all kinds of rumors from all kinds of sources that sound more or less like this: I heard from someone that the Marquee-Comcast carriage deal is going to be done and announced tomorrow. I will concede that I have also heard positive things.
Even Jed Hoyer seems to be winking at the same:
Jed Hoyer just said on Kap and Co. on @espn1000 Cubs business executives have told him they expect all of the market to be able to watch Cubs baseball on Opening Day. "I'm not breaking news here but we fully expect everyone will be able to watch our games starting Opening Day."
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 23, 2020
Technically, that’s already true, since Cubs fans in the region could switch providers. But I think everyone knows when this topic comes up right now, we’re talking specifically about Comcast, which currently serves about half of the homes in the Chicago area.
So anyway, lots and lots of buzz today about a deal getting done. HOWEVER, this deal is too important to too many Cubs fans, and I’ve grown too cynical, to be cavalier until it’s officially announced. I won’t count any carriage chickens until they hatch.
To that end, Cubs Business President Crane Kenney spoke with the Sun-Times tonight, offering up the same optimism he’s held publicly for a long time:
The Cubs, once again, say they expect to have Marquee Sports Network on Comcast.https://t.co/iPPsaK0xwY
— Sun-Times Sports (@suntimes_sports) July 23, 2020
“I expect the games to be on Comcast … in time for Opening Day,” Kenney said. “Issues that remain unresolved will be resolved in time …This has been the case back to my days at WGN. … The Cubs opener has been the catalyst for a lot of deals to get done in my lifetime. And I believe it will be the catalyst to get our deal with Comcast done.”
You can’t really state more confidently that a deal will get done while also simultaneously indicating a deal is still not done. My guess is that there are t’s to cross and i’s to dot, and the Cubs want to make a grand announcement tomorrow. Or maybe I’m just being too hopeful.
In any case, the point here is that, officially, no deal is yet done to have the Marquee Sports Network on Comcast Xfinity, and the Cubs open their 2020 season tomorrow night. But hope still remains for the involved parties to do right by their fans/customers in time for the opener.
In the meantime, you can read the Sun-Times piece for more on the Cubs’ plans for the broadcasts this year, and more from Kenney.