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Marquee Sports Network Plans Taking Shape

Chicago Cubs

With its launch set for early next year, details are beginning to emerge on Marquee Sports Network, a regional network from the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast group–the biggest owner of local television stations in the United States–are partnering to establish Marquee Sports Network. The regional network is expected to launch in February, and its format will include plenty of Cubs programming.

With 12 broadcasts reserved for national television, Marquee Sports Network will air 150 regular-season games. Spring training games are also expected to be part of the mix, with other Cubs-centric options–including pregame and program coverage, plus airings of classic games and more–factoring into its broadcast slate. More from the Chicago Tribune:

Years in the works, the new Cubs network will include 150 regular and about 30 spring training games, expanded pregame and postgame coverage, classic broadcasts from the archives and other programming.

A dozen Cubs regular season games are reserved for national broadcasts, but Marquee will be the only way to watch games on local TV next season after the team parts ways with NBC Sports Chicago, the regional sports network it formed in 2004 with the Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox.

The Cubs are also exiting local over-the-air TV after 71 years, pulling the plug on WGN-Ch.9 and WLS-Ch.7 and moving 70 games between them over to Marquee next season.

For Sinclair, Marquee Sports Network is part of an ongoing push that stands to make the company a major figure in the sports-broadcasting world. The partnership with the Cubs stands alone from its agreement to purchase of 21 regional sports networks (RSNs) from Disney–with the 21 RSNs currently holding broadcast rights for 16 NBA teams, 14 MLB teams, and 12 NHL teams–and the separate purchase of the YES Network, where Sinclair is teaming up with Amazon and the New York Yankees (which had the first right of refusal on any sale) on a $3.45 billion buy.

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