Sources: Marquee Sports Network, Comcast Finally Agree to Carriage Deal (Channel Updates)
Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said back in May that a deal between Marquee Sports Network and Comcast’s Xfinity service would be finalized as soon as baseball returned and it appears as though he will be proven correct. Multiple sources have told Cubs Insider that the Cubs’ exclusive television broadcast partner has indeed inked a carriage agreement with Chicago’s largest cable provider, ending a months-long stalemate that threatened to leave nearly half the fans in the area without access to televised games.
A Comcast representative would not confirm the deal as of Wednesday evening, saying only that the parties “are still in discussions,” but more than one source and a great deal of industry buzz strongly indicates it’s done. On the most recent episode of The Rant Live, I had said that an agreement would likely be announced Friday morning if one was reached, and it appears that we’re heading toward such a revelation. However, early leaks of the news could push Marquee and the Cubs to move the timeline up a bit.
The agreement comes just in time for the Cubs’ season-opening game against the Brewers on Friday evening, a contest that will be aired by both Marquee and ESPN. A national broadcast on Opening Day would have been particularly frustrating for local Comcast subscribers who otherwise would have been blacked out by the Four-Letter due to a local broadcast they wouldn’t have been able to watch.
Though it’s still maddening and perplexing that it took so long to get this all sorted out, the Great Carriage Wars of 2020 will likely end up as little more than a footnote in the end. Like the Lindbergh Mural and Santo Dumpster, we’ll all be able to laugh about it in time…unless you’re one of those folks who will never forgive the Cubs for splitting with WGN.
If this is indeed true, expect to hear an official announcement from the Cubs soon, probably via an appearance on 670 The Score either Thursday or Friday morning.
Update: Reached again for additional comment, Comcast reiterated that “we are still in discussions.” As always, take everything with a grain of salt.
Update #2: While there still hasn’t been an official announcement, Xfinity subscribers are reporting that Marquee is being unlocked on their program guides. Looks like channel 202 in some areas and 1254 in others. Check yours to confirm.
Confirmed: channel 202 on Comcast. @DEvanAltman @BleacherNation pic.twitter.com/3o9jpYahGf
— Jordan Campbell (@CampbellJordan_) July 24, 2020
@DEvanAltman I can confirm Marquee is now showing up on Xfinity here in the Indy area, so I’d assume everywhere else too – watching it on channel 1254.
— Todd is Still @Home (@xnavyct) July 24, 2020