Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Chicago Cubs plan to launch a regional sports network in Chicago.
The Hunt Valley-based television broadcaster said Wednesday it formed a joint venture with the baseball club to own and operate Marquee Sports Network. The Chicago-based channel will be that region’s exclusive network for live Cubs games starting with the 2020 Major League Baseball season. It also will offer exclusive Cubs content and local sports programming.
“This partnership brings together one of the most iconic sports franchises in the country with one of the largest television broadcasting companies,” said Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s president and CEO, in a statement. “It is hard to imagine any content that is more unique and valuable than the live sports entertainment the Cubs have been delivering to their fans for more than a century.”
Sinclair’s expertise in production, distribution and local sales will help expand content to more viewers while using the latest technology, Ripley said. The broadcaster owns, operates and provides services to nearly 200 TV stations in 89 markets.
The Cubs see the network as a way to enhance fan experience with expanded and exclusive programming that will showcase players and the ballpark, said Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ president of business operations, in an announcement. He said the network will broadcast all available Cubs games along with behind-the-scenes coverage.
Sinclair has carved out a niche in sports programming with its ownership of professional wrestling’s Ring of Honor, acquisition of the Tennis Channel and involvement in the Stadium sports streaming partnership.