Recently regional sports networks have been struggling. Now the Chicago Cubs and Marquee Sports Network RSN, a joint partnership between the Cubs and Sinclair, are looking to offer direct-to-consumer streaming in July, according to an interview with President of Business Operations Crane Kennedy on 670 The Score.
“This is something we talked about at the (Cubs) Convention (in January), and certainly it’s been a pretty popular topic,” Kenney said on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score on Saturday June 24th 2023. “The landscape for media consumption – I would just put it in the terms of consumers, you know, people are finding their programming in all sorts of ways, not just with cable and satellite subscriptions. Streaming services seem to be popping up daily. We’ve seen a few teams – the Red Sox and Yankees and then a few of the Bally teams and most notably the Padres just launched a streaming service after their rights were returned to them in the bankruptcy. So the world is changing very, very quickly, even since the 2019 launch of Marquee, which is primarily on cable and satellite. And to reach our fans that have cut the cord, we’re going to be introducing a streaming service this year. We’re aiming for July sometime after the All-Star break, to bring a service for those who say, ‘I cut the cord, I don’t have Fubo’ – which we are available on – ‘but I’d like to buy Marquee individually, not as part of a package, but just a channel to see Cubs games.’ We hope to make that available to them in July.”
This all comes as it has become increasingly difficult for sports fans to watch RSNs. Most streaming services do not carry them, and even DISH has dropped them. When DISH dropped most RSNs, they listed the high cost and low viewership. This has forced a growing number of RSNs into financial trouble and plans to offer direct-to-consumer options.
At this time, this is all we know, but Sinclairs’ Bally Sports in-market streaming for their Bally Sports networks costs about $20 a month less if you prepay for a year. It is expected that this service will come in around that $20 a month number.
The MLB All-Star Game this year is on July 11th, 2023. It looks like the Cubs plan to launch this new streaming service sometime after that date.
By the end of 2023, most major RSNs, including MSG, Bally Sports, and Yes Network, will all offer options to stream games in-market.