With no live Major League Baseball this year, the Marquee Sports Network has busied itself with classic game re-broadcasts and Cubs-related talk shows.
The issue that dogged Marquee before the season started, then, still confronts the network if and when baseball begins this summer: Will Comcast/Xfinity subscribers be able to see Cubs games on TV? The largest cable provider in the Chicago area — over 50 percent of subscribers in the area have Xfinity service — had not been able to come to an agreement on coverage when MLB suspended operations March 12, just two weeks before the scheduled Opening Day. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney told season-ticket holders in a call earlier this month that the parties were “close” to an agreement and the consensus was that such a deal would have been made, even if it happened just before the season opener March 26.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of our expectations for how things work in the USA. With millions out of work, Comcast has had a lot of people cancel subscriptions for reasons completely unrelated to Cubs coverage.
A recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business sums up the issue: