Marquee Sports Network
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Marquee Sports Network

Marquee Sports Network
Marquee Sports Network Logo.svg
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNorthern and Central Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska (Mainly the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro, Lincoln Metro, Grand Island metro, Kearney Mircro and the Sioux City Metro), and Northern and western half of central Indiana
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
OwnerSinclair Broadcast Group
Chicago Cubs
Sister channelsFox Sports Networks
YES Network
LaunchedFebruary 22, 2020; 10 months ago (2020-02-22)
Charter SpectrumTBD
  • 377 (SD)
  • 679 (HD)
Comcast Xfinity
  • 84 (SD)
  • 202 (HD)
Available on select other cable systems in designated broadcast areaConsult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability
DirecTV664 (HD/SD)
AT&T U-verse
  • 740 (SD)
  • 1740 (HD)

Marquee Sports Network is a regional sports network operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Chicago Cubs, launched on February 22, 2020. It is devoted exclusively to Cubs baseball, replacing a triad of channels (cable channel NBC Sports Chicago and broadcast partners WLS-TV and WGN-TV) as the exclusive broadcaster of Cubs games not shown on national TV.[1]


The main entrance marquee outside Wrigley Field, from which the channel derives its name.

On November 16, 2015 in an interview with WSCR radio, the Cubs' president of business operations Crane Kenney stated that the team was seeking to launch its own in-house regional sports network after its current broadcast contracts with NBC Sports Chicago, WGN Sports, and WLS-TV expire after the 2019 season.[2][3][4]

On December 18, 2018, it was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that the team was preparing to launch its RSN, "Marquee", in 2020, and that Sinclair Broadcast Group was a frontrunner to serve as managing partner.[5] Sinclair had previously attempted to purchase WGN's parent company Tribune Media, and runs the national sports network Stadium with the White Sox's investment arm Silver Chalice. The venture was officially announced in February 2019 to be launched in 2020 with Sinclair.[6][7]

On May 22, 2019, Michael McCarthy was named general manager of the Marquee Sports Network after being the Cubs' consultant on the channel.[8] He is the former president of the MSG Network[8] and a former top official with the Milwaukee Bucks (COO) and the St. Louis Blues (vice chairman).[9]

On August 22, 2019, a consortium of Sinclair and Entertainment Studios acquired Fox Sports Networks for $10.6 billion, thus making Marquee a sister to them (FSN previously operated a Chicago network, but it became defunct when Chicago's professional teams abandoned it in favor of a joint venture with Comcast--currently known as NBC Sports Chicago). The divestiture was mandated as part of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, who chose not to retain the networks under its successor Fox Corporation.[10][11]

Early reception of Marquee has been mixed by fans, culminating in fans booing Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts during the annual Cubs Convention after mention of the new network.[12][13]

Marquee Sports Network officially launched on February 22, 2020 at 1 p.m. CT, with its first program being a launch special hosted by actor and Cubs fan Bill Murray, followed by a documentary on Ernie Banks. The channel aired its first live spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Sloan Park later in the day; the game had been postponed from the afternoon due to the threat of rain.[1][14]


The Cubs' current television commentators Len Kasper (play-by-play) and Jim "J.D." Deshaies (color) will maintain their roles on Marquee.[15] On May 1, 2019, it was reported that David Kaplan--NBC Sports Chicago studio host for Cubs games--had renewed his contract with the channel, dispelling rumors that he planned to join Marquee.[16] Cole Wright, formerly of NFL Network, will serve as studio host, and Taylor McGregor, formerly field reporter for the Colorado Rockies on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, will serve as field reporter.[17] The channel also brought on Bob Vorwald, former executive producer of WGN Sports.[1]

After the 2020 season, Kasper left the Cubs and Marquee to become the radio voice of the Chicago White Sox on WMVP.[18]Jon Sciambi, currently the television and radio play-by-play voice on ESPN's MLB national broadcasts, was then tabbed to replace Kasper.[19]


Besides game broadcasts, Marquee will carry documentaries, game replays and player profiles, as well as coverage of minor league games.[17][1] The channel might attempt to pick up college basketball for the winter time.[20] Stadium and the Fox Sports Regional Networks, now partly owned by Sinclair, would provide some programming.[1]

Individual programs
  • Cubs Live, pre-game[1]
  • Cubs Postgame Live[1]
  • Follow The Money, weekday morning sports betting show by Vegas Stats & Information Network hosted by Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard[21]
  • a unnamed local Chicago sports talk show produced by Stadium, a network partly owned by Sinclair[1]
Baseball team rights

Broadcasting areas

The Marquee is broadcast in five different states, particularly Illinois (With the exception of the state's Southern side), most of Iowa, Western Nebraska, Northern and the western half of Central Indiana, and Kenosha County, WI. The broadcasting areas will be listed for each state below.






As of February 2020, Sinclair had secured distribution deals with Charter Communications, RCN, DirecTV, Hulu Live, Mediacom, and Frontier Communications to carry Marquee Sports Network at launch.[1]

Upon the announcement of the channel, the network's ability to gain carriage was compared to the troubled negotiations of the Los Angeles Dodgers' SportsNet LA.[22] Industry observer Phillip Swan thought Marquee would have a "50-50 chance of working" while commenting ""How can you not look at the disaster of the SportsNet (LA) scene and not be a little skeptical?"[23] Charter has since come to terms with DirecTV to carry SportsNet LA.[24]

Industry experts predicted that Marquee would seek around $5 per subscriber placing it behind YES Network and ESPN.[23] Sinclair secured Marquee's first major carriage agreement with Charter Communications on July 11, 2019. As part of the multi-year carriage agreement, Marquee was bundled alongside Sinclair's owned-and-operated television stations, Tennis Channel and the regional Fox Sports Networks that Sinclair was in the process of buying from Disney at the time.[25]

On October 17, 2019, AT&T agreed to carry Marquee on its television services (including DirecTV, the second largest provider serving the region behind Comcast) as part of a larger, multi-year carriage agreement with Sinclair.[26][27] Sinclair later reached a deal with Mediacom on November 6, 2019 to carry Marquee Sports Network.[27] On February 17, 2020, the network announced an agreement to carry the network on Hulu's live streaming service.[28] On February 27, the network announced an agreement with WOW cable.[29]

Comcast, the largest television provider in the region (with an estimated 1.5 million subscribers),[30] reached an agreement to carry Marquee on July 24 (in time for the Cubs' opening game) as part of a larger renewal for Sinclair-owned television stations and cable networks.[31]

Marquee's deal with DirecTV is for in-market coverage only. Unlike many other regional sports networks, Marquee is not included in DirecTV's Sports Pack, which carries RSNs nationwide with appropriate blackouts of professional events.[]

Dish Network and YouTube TV (which has indicated they have no deal for Marquee's sister RSNs after February 29 and would remove them from the platform on that date) have not reached an agreement with Sinclair to carry Marquee Sports Network.[27]

Additionally, Marquee also has the rights to the games for the Cubs' Minor League Baseball clubs, including Des Moines's Iowa Cubs and the South Bend Cubs, ending deals with local broadcast subchannels to leverage Iowa and northern Indiana cable systems into carrying the network.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lafayette, Jon (February 24, 2020). "Marquee Sports Network Steps Up to the Plate". Multichannel. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ "Cubs aim to launch own TV network by 2020". USA Today. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ Gonzales, Mark. "Cubs moving forward in quest for own TV network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Channick, Robert (May 24, 2019). "Diehards and Nonfans Alike to Foot the Bill for New Cubs Pay TV Network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "While Cubs prepare to launch Marquee, Hawks, Bulls & Sox return to NBCSCH". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Bastian, Jordan (February 13, 2019). "Cubs to launch Marquee Sports Network". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "The Cubs are starting a new TV channel in 2020. Here's what that means for fans". Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b Lafayette, Jon (May 22, 2019). "McCarthy Tapped to Run Sinclair's Cubs Network". Multichannel. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ Feder, Robert (May 22, 2019). "Cubs announce general manager for Marquee Sports Network". Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 3, 2019). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "Sinclair completes acquisition of regional sports networks from Disney". Bloomberg. August 22, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Cubs fans voice frustration, boo Ricketts at Convention". NBC Sports Chicago. January 18, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ Swinton, Elizabeth. "Cubs Chairman Ricketts Booed at Convention". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Threat of rain forces Cubs to postpone Saturday's spring training opener". AZFamily. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Paul (May 24, 2019). "The new Cubs TV boss has 8 months to figure out what Cubs fans want -- and importantly, don't want -- from the new network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (May 1, 2019). "David Kaplan renews with NBC Sports Chicago, ending speculation he might leave for Cubs TV channel: 'It was a no-brainer'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Marquee Sports Network announces Cubs broadcast on-air talent and additional programming". Awful Announcing. January 18, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ Feder, Robert (December 4, 2020). "Cubs TV announcer Len Kasper named radio voice of White Sox on ESPN 1000". Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ Lee, Maddie (January 4, 2021). "Jon Sciambi joins Marquee as new Cubs announcer". Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ Rogers, Jesse (February 13, 2019). "Cubs launching own 'Cubs-centric' network". Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Feder, Robert (February 10, 2020). "Robservations: Marquee Sports Network to air VSiN's 'Follow the Money'". Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Impey, Steven (February 14, 2019). "Chicago Cubs confirm exclusive RSN launch - SportsPro Media". SportsPro. Archived from the original on January 6, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ a b Strauss, Ben (February 13, 2019). "Cubs partnership could mark the start of Sinclair's push into sports programming". Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 8, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ Castillo, Jorge; Shaikin, Bill (April 1, 2020). "Dodgers TV blackout ends: Spectrum deal puts SportsNet LA on AT&T platforms". Los Angeles Times.
  25. ^ Lafayette, Jon (July 11, 2019). "Sinclair Signs New Carriage Agreement With Charter". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on August 29, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ Lafayette, Jon (October 17, 2019). "Sinclair Reaches Agreement on Retransmission With AT&T". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on October 19, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ a b c Taylor, Brett (November 6, 2019). "Good News: Another Carriage Deal in Place for Marquee Sports Network". Archived from the original on November 14, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ "Cubs Marquee Network will be available to Hulu+LiveTV subscribers in Midwest". WGN-TV. February 17, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ Farris, Gene (February 27, 2020). "Marquee Sports Network adds WOW cable provider to lineup". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (January 6, 2020). "Marquee Sports Network still doesn't have a deal with Comcast to carry Cubs games. Here's a worst-case scenario for fans". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 6, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ Hayes, Dade (July 24, 2020). "Comcast And Sinclair Play Ball, Renewing Carriage Deal That Includes Chicago Sports Network On Day Of Cubs Opener". Deadline. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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