With the launch of the new Chicago Cubs TV network coming up very soon, essential things have yet to be sorted out. It is making fans very unhappy.
It is a major adjustment as it is for any fanbase who sees their team’s television broadcast services change. The New York Yankees have the YES Network and the Los Angeles Dodgers have their deal with Time Warner Cable. Now it is the Cubs‘ turn to get their own network, which will be operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group. This news was announced roughly a year ago and had been in the works for a while now.
The launch of the network is scheduled for February, so a month away. Unfortunately there are still more questions than answers. According to the Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Rosenthal, Marquee still does not have a deal with Xfinity. This is a huge deal considering Xfinity is a major broadcast provider. According to Rosenthal’s piece it is the largest cable provider in the Chicagoland area.
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Despite the assurance that it will be figured out eventually, this is not a good look. While people sit around not knowing exactly who will be providing games and what it will cost them, the network is supposed to be coming within a few weeks. It’s no secret that many fans who do not have cable or do not want to pay the fees are unhappy as it is.
It is hard to please everyone, but the fact that there is so much scrambling to get everything together last minute when they have been working on this a while makes us fans question the business operations.
What we do know and what could happen
In his article, Rosenthal laid out what the Marquee has in place in terms of deals and providers. Listed providers with Marquee as of right now include: DirecTV, U-verse, AT&T, Charter Communications and Mediacom Communications. There are reportedly others they are working on, but by far the biggest is Xfinity.
When will the two sides come to an agreement? Who knows. Can we really believe it will be in time? It might, it might not be. Negotiations could take a while. We do not know how close they are if they are even close. If the season starts and Xfinity does not provide Marquee, that will drive fans away. The frustrating thing is that is a possibility until a deal is officially reached. Hearing about how it should be all ironed out is not always reassuring the way things have gone.
Should we point to president of business operations Crane Kenney? Someone has to take responsibility and this is all under him. Does not help his case that we have recently heard about the Cubs way overspending on Wrigley Field renovations. Or can we point to Sinclair and/or Comcast? It does take two to tango in business negotiations. Regardless this does not currently bode well for the new network if it continues to stay at an impasse.
Many questions, few answers.
From a personal standpoint, I do not know exactly how negotiations work and there is a lot to this we fans do not understand. It is all more complicated than we realize. However if a franchise is preaching about how good this network will be for the team and essential details are not figured out within weeks of launch we have every right to criticize.
Lets hope for the best that everything comes together and Marquee Sports Network is successful.