Q. Now that baseball is coming back, will the Chicago Cubs’ new channel be on Comcast? That’s our largest cable operator. I know they’ve been arguing, but did they get a deal during the Coronavirus? — John, Evanston, Illinois.
John, you’re right. Major League Baseball announced yesterday that it will impose a 60-game schedule, likely starting around July 24, after the league failed to reach a mutual agreement with the players’ union. Although the players are expected to file a labor grievance against the league, it’s not expected to prevent the 2020 season from being played. Finally.
Now to your question:
The Marquee Sports Channel, the new TV home of the Chicago Cubs, debuted last February prior to the Coronavirus shutdown. Marquee is a regional sports network, meaning the Cubs live games will only be available in the team’s broadcast market which includes Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and parts of Wisconsin.
Thus far, DIRECTV, U-verse, AT&T TV, Hulu, Mediacom and Charter have agreed to carry it as well as numerous smaller pay TV outfits.
But not Comcast, the largest pay TV provider in the Chicago market.
The cable operator and Marquee were negotiating in March when the 2020 season was suspended due to the pandemic. At the time, both had recently said they were hopeful of a deal prior to opening day. But there’s no indication that any progress was made during the shutdown.
However, with baseball officially coming back next month, I predict negotiations will intensify again and lead to a deal before the July 24 opening day.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor Marquee’s negotiations with Comcast and will report back here if anything changes.
John, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann