Cubs Unconcerned With Sinclair's Politics

The Cubs will fully control the programming on the Marquee Sports Network.

Mully & Haugh Show
February 14, 2019 - 9:47 am
Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports


(670 The Score) The Cubs are unconcerned about the right-wing slant of the Sinclair Broadcast Group in any way seeping into or affecting Marquee Sports Network, the new regional sports network the two entities have paired up to launch in February 2020 that will be the exclusive home of the team's games.

"From our view, the reason Sinclair was such a good partner had to do with their technical capacity," Kenney said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Thursday morning. "They're a terrific programmer and operator and have really great strength on the distribution side. In terms of the programming on the channel, that will be exclusively our control. So what our fans, what the consumer sees when they turn the channel on will be something the team controls, as it should be, given that we know fan base and the team better than anyone. (Sinclair is) comfortable that we'll control that."

Kenney pointed out that the Tennis Channel is owned by Sinclair, and its programming has no political overtones. Sinclair owns/operates 190 stations throughout the country.

Kenney also added that the Cubs have had no pushback yet regarding their partnership with Sinclair from corporate sponsors and advertisers.

"We haven't seen it," Kenney said. "If one of our partners wants to talk about it, we'll be happy to explain, in particular that the controls on programming are in our hands.

"While Sinclair's TV stations may have a right-leaning bent, you won't see any of that on our channel."

Kenney didn't reveal specifics on the price of the Marquee Sports Network, saying the team will know more when enter negotiations with distributors -- mainly cable carriers -- in the future. 

As for the programming on the all-sports channel, that's still "a work in progress," but Kenney referenced a key development in today's climate -- baseball has more or less become a 12-month sport now with the GM Meetings, the Winter Meetings, free agency being prolonged and players reporting for spring training early in February. So he believes there's an appetite for the Cubs year-round.

And beyond that?

"We will have other sports programming -- I can't tell you exactly what that is today -- in those months that we're not carrying Cubs baseball," Kenney said. "But largely, this channel is going to be dedicated to Cubs fans and coverage of our club and all of the things that go into that."