Want to directly stream Chicago Cubs games? According to many news outlets, “The Chicago Cubs are in talks with media giant Sinclair Broadcasting to launch a streaming service for customers without a cable or satellite-TV subscription — despite pushback from Major League Baseball on the idea, The Post has learned.”
According to the New York Post,
“In a deal that insiders say could have league-wide implications, the Cubs and Sinclair are angling to launch the new service following a tough round of negotiations with cable-TV giant Comcast more than a year ago, which resulted in capping monthly fees for the Marquee Sports Network, the broadcaster of local Cubs games, according to sources close to the situation.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is concerned that Sinclair, loaded down with debt after a series of big acquisitions, doesn’t have the cash needed to produce high-quality broadcasts, sources said. As exclusively reported by The Post, Manfred also has been angling to launch a league-wide streaming service as soon as next year.”
The stakes in the dispute could be high: The Cubs, which own Marquee Sports in a 50-50 partnership with Sinclair, are among the most valuable franchises in baseball. If the team begins broadcasting its games directly to consumers, it might set a precedent for other franchises to quickly follow suit, according to sources close to the situation.
“We’re always exploring options,” Marquee Sports General Manager Michael McCarthy told The Post. “There is nothing definite to announce.”
Spokespersons for Sinclair and MLB declined to comment.
The disagreement carries a bitter tinge dating back to 2019, when MLB bid against Sinclair in an auction to buy the Fox Regional Sports Networks. Sinclair won Fox’s networks for $9.6 billion, renaming them under the Bally Sports banner, and rejected the idea of bringing in MLB as a co-investor. Relations between the parties have since been frosty, sources said.
Read the entire report here.