Q. I’ve stayed with YouTube TV even though they raised the price. But will they have the Marquee Sports channel that has the Cubs on it? If the answer is no, I think I’m gone. — Bobby, Evanston, Illinois.
Bobby, as you note, YouTube TV just raised the price of its monthly service from $50 to $65, a 30 percent increase. And I have more bad news for you. YouTube TV does not carry the Marquee Sports Network, the new TV home of the Chicago Cubs.
I don’t expect it will, either, at least not before next week’s Opening Day. (The 2020 MLB season will begin on July 23 with two games while the rest of the league will start play on July 24.)
Let me explain why.
YouTube TV last March engaged in a fee fight with Sinclair Broadcasting, which is a co-owner of the Marquee Sports Network with the Cubs. After a few days of name-calling, the companies finally settled the dispute with YouTube TV agreeing to carry 19 of the 23 regional sports networks owned or partly-owned by Sinclair.
The exceptions: The Yes Network, Fox Sports West, Prime Ticket, and, yes, the Marquee Sports Network.
If YouTube TV wanted to carry Marquee, the odds are good that it would have agreed to do so in the negotiations last March.
Of course, circumstances have changed somewhat. We are in month five of an international pandemic that shut down the economy, including professional sports. The demand among YouTube TV subscribers for live sports is certainly even higher than it was last March. So the streaming service may feel greater pressure to add Marquee.
But I doubt it.
Sorry I can’t be more positive, Bobby. Happy viewing, and stay safe.
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— Phillip Swann