Tomorrow, the Marquee Sports Network, the new home of the Cubs, goes live as the team kicks off their slate of games in the 2020 Cactus League. Unfortunately, for the majority of homes in the Chicagoland area, the network will not be available.
Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will continue on as the main announcing team for Cubs games. They will occasionally be joined by one of the roving band of analysts that have been announced to date: Lou Piniella, Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace, Carlos Peña, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Dempster, Doug Glanville, Dan Plesac, and Jason Hammel. Cole Wright, formerly of NFL Network, will be the studio host for pre- and post-game coverage and Taylor McGregor will be the sideline reporter, a role she previously held with the Rockies.
The one thing Marquee doesn’t have is a carriage agreement with Comcast, the dominant cable operator in the Chicago metropolitan area. Comcast has 1.5 million home subscribers in the area, more than all the other metro area operators combined. The Cubs hope to avoid the fate of the Dodgers, who created their own network in 2014 and still have not gotten full clearance in the Los Angeles market, after 7 years and 2 World Series appearances. Tomorrow was a soft deadline to get a deal done. If nothing happened by March 26, when the Cubs open the season in Milwaukee against the Brewers.