Marquee Sports Network

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Marquee Sports Network
Marquee Sports Network Logo.svg
Launched22 February 2020 (2020-02-22)
Owned bySinclair Broadcast Group
Chicago Cubs
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Broadcast areaIllinois
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
Sister channel(s)Fox Sports Networks

Marquee Sports Network is an upcoming regional sports network to be operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Chicago Cubs, scheduled to launch in February 2020. It will be 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.

History[edit]

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.[1][2][3]

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 (which 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) was a frontrunner to serve as managing partner.[4] The venture was officially announced in February 2019 to be launched in 2020.[5]

On May 22, 2019, Michael McCarthy was named general manager of the Marquee Sports Network after being the Cubs' consultant on the channel.[6] He is the former president of the MSG Network[6] and a former top official with the Milwaukee Bucks (COO) and the St. Louis Blues (vice chairman).[7]

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.[8][9]

Talent[edit]

The Cubs' current television commentators Len Kasper (play-by-play) and Jim Deshaies (color) will maintain their roles on Marquee.[10] 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.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cubs aim to launch own TV network by 2020". USA Today. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  2. ^ Gonzales, Mark. "Cubs moving forward in quest for own TV network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  3. ^ Channick, Robert (May 24, 2019). "Diehards and Nonfans Alike to Foot the Bill for New Cubs Pay TV Network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "While Cubs prepare to launch Marquee, Hawks, Bulls & Sox return to NBCSCH". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  5. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "The Cubs are starting a new TV channel in 2020. Here's what that means for fans". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  6. ^ a b Lafayette, Jon (May 22, 2019). "McCarthy Tapped to Run Sinclair's Cubs Network". Multichannel. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  7. ^ Feder, Robert (May 22, 2019). "Cubs announce general manager for Marquee Sports Network". Robertfeder.com. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Littleton, Cynthia; Littleton, Cynthia (2019-05-03). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  9. ^ "Sinclair completes acquisition of regional sports networks from Disney". Bloomberg. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Paul. "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 Yribune. Retrieved 2019-09-04.
  11. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "David Kaplan renews with NBC Sports Chicago, ending speculation he might leave for Cubs TV channel: 'It was a no-brainer'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-05-05.