The Chicago Cubs today announced the launch of a long-anticipated regional sports network in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, starting in February 2020.
Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will continue as announcers for all Cubs games on the new Marquee Sports Network.
The move to their own exclusive channel will mark the end of Cubs broadcasts on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 and NBC Sports Chicago, all of which now carry games under separate agreements. The Cubs have been a fixture on WGN since 1948.
"We are excited to better serve our fans with expanded and exclusive programming showcasing our remarkable players, beloved ballpark and storied past," Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations, said in a statement. "Our dedicated 'Cubs-centric' network will carry all available Cubs games and feature uncompromising, in-depth and behind-the scenes coverage."
Last year Sinclair failed to acquire Tribune Media, parent company of WGN, in a $3.9 billion deal that was nixed by the FCC. The new network will be Sinclair’s first venture in regional sports.
“This partnership brings together one of the most iconic sports franchises in the country with one of the largest television broadcasting companies,” Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, said in a statement. “It is hard to imagine any content that is more unique and valuable than the live sports entertainment the Cubs have been delivering to their fans for more than a century. Sinclair’s strength in production, distribution and local sales will support bringing more content to more viewers, all while leveraging the latest technology.”
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Steve Elliott: Why is it that Chicago cannot have more than one decent classic rock station? First The Loop was gobbled up by Christian radio, and now another classic rock station meets its demise the same way. Please leave our stations alone!!!