October 18, 2019


It was announced yesterday that the Cubs Marquee Network signed its
first carriage deal with AT&T's DirectTV (dish) and U-verse (cable) platforms.

No terms were announced, as in how much it will cost subscribers per month.

The Cubs floated numbers around $6 to $12 per month.

The Marquee contract was part of a deal where Sinclair, the Cubs partner,  bundled its 21 regional sports networks into one deal with AT&T to carry their networks.

DirectTV is going with the business model of being Sports heavy in content
while DishTV is cutting or eliminating sports programming to be the
cheaper alternative in the Dish industry.

Also, AT&T has been trying to get its cable platform (fiber optic network) users to move to Direct TV
to save costs of maintaining cables.

I could not find a reference to AT&T's cable market share for Chicago, but
nationally it appears that Comcast has 57% share to AT&T's 8%.

On the bad news side of things, 92% of Cub fans in Chicago metro market could be
blacked out of Cubs games (The Dodgers Network disaster), or at best, 43% could receive it (highly doubtful Comcast is going to carry a competitor and small cable operators are not going to pay hefty new carriage fees.

In reality, the best outcome for the Cubs is actually a 14% decrease in market availability
from the expired Comcast arrangement. Good work Crane Kenney. Good work Tom Ricketts.

In addition, the Marquee Network has no marquee names in the talent department. Len Kasper and Jim DeShaies contracts expired in October. The radio crew may have one year left on their deals.

Bob Costas was interviewed this week. He was asked if wanted to be the face of the Cubs new network. He said he was not contacted but he would say no. He was not interested in local baseball broadcasting at this point in his career. David Kaplan turned down an offer to be the "face" of the Cubs network which was a telling sign by the self-proclaimed number one Cubs fan.

Besides having no "face" of the new network in place, there have been no program announcements other thanthe 150 games of the 2020 season. How will Marquee fill 24 hours a day? That is the expensive question.