Rejoice, Cubs fans! Those of you who have Comcast Xfinity in the Chicago area (that’s like 50% of you), and even those of you who don’t. Because today’s news is HUGE for your fellow fans, and also quite big for the organization as a whole.
At long last, the Cubs’ new network, Marquee Sports, is on channel 202 for Comcast subscribers:
Marquee Sports Network secures a carriage agreement with Comcast to carry the Cubs’ TV channel https://t.co/LlYcQtMI8Z
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) July 24, 2020
With that deal in place, upwards of 90% of Cubs fans in the team’s region (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and a little bit of Wisconsin) will have access to Marquee via one provider or another. Most areas will have multiple options, be they Comcast or Hulu+ Live TV or DirecTV or AT&T or RCN.
The only two holdouts at this point are DISH and YouTube TV, the former of which has moved away from carrying any regional sports networks, and the latter of which is getting a push from Marquee.
So, then, Cubs fans with Comcast: you can watch tonight’s Cubs opener against the Brewers at 6pm CT. It’s really happening. You’ve waited long enough.
As for the Cubs and Marquee, getting this carriage deal in place this year, before the offseason, is critical for the financial stability of the network, and thus in part, the revenue stream coming to the Cubs organization. No, the reality at this point is that major dollars are not going to hit the Cubs’ books in time for a spending spree this offseason – I still think almost no organizations are going to spend big this offseason because of the pandemic – but it does make next year and beyond look a helluva lot sunnier than it would have if there was still no deal with Comcast carrying into NEXT March.