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Could Marquee Sports Network Offer In-Market Streaming Service For Cubs Fans?

Jason Gurwin

Earlier this month, Sinclair finalized the acquisition of streaming rights to 16 NBA Teams, after they had reached a deal for 10 NHL teams in December. They currently have streaming rights for four MLB teams (Tigers, Marlins, Brewers, and Royals), but could one more be added to the mix?

According to a report from the NY Post, the Chicago Cubs are in discussions with Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch an in-market streaming service for games that are on Marquee Sports Network. Sinclair owns 50% of Marquee, which was launched in March 2019 in conjunction with the Cubs.

Michael McCarthy, Marquee Sports General Manager told The Post. “We’re always exploring options. There is nothing definite to announce.”

Marquee Sports Network is currently available to stream on fuboTV and DIRECTV STREAM, after it was dropped by Hulu Live TV in October 2020.

DTV STREAM fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling TV YouTube
Free Trial Free Trial Sign Up Free Trial 50% OFF Sign Up
$74.99 $74.99 $69.99 $25 $40 $40 $64.99
Marquee Sports Network ≥ $99.99 - - - - -

Unlike the NHL and NBA, Major League Baseball has been very hesitant to offer league-wide streaming rights to Sinclair.

At the CAA World Congress of Sports in October, Major League Baseball commish Rob Manfred offered his unfiltered thoughts on Sinclair Broadcasting Group and its handling of the broadcasting rights of 14 MLB teams. When asked about Sinclair’s claim that it is “close” to obtaining the necessary rights to launch its DTC RSN service, Manfred said the more accurate statement would be that Sinclair does not have enough digital rights from enough clubs in order to have a viable direct-to-consumer product.

So if they were to launch a streaming service with the Cubs, how much would it cost?

Sinclair recently closed in on $600 million in financing to support the launch of the Bally streaming service later this year. As part of their fundraise for their new streaming service, Sinclair included projections for the service that give a hint on what they plan to charge.

In their first full year of operating the service (2023), the company expects $243 million in subscription revenue across 1.08 million subscribers. On average, that would mean a subscriber would be paying $225 per year to access the Bally Sports App – or $18.75 per month (paid annually).

The company had previously been circulating a $23 a month price point for the Bally Sports DTC service as part of Sinclair’s fundraising efforts. That number was soundly denied by Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal.

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