Chicago Cubs network projects to make $50 million annually for Sinclair

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Despite the controversy, the soon to be Chicago Cubs TV home Marquee Sports Network is projected to reap huge dividends for Sinclair.

Recently announcing their plans to establish a regional sports network to broadcast live Chicago Cubs games, Sinclair Broadcast Group just made known that they project as much as $50 million in annual revenue from the venture. Presently the Cubs divide their television presence between WGN, NBC Sports Chicago, and WLS, but will solely be televised through Sinclair from 2020 onward.

“We love partnering directly with the teams and getting alignment of interest there,” said Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley to Broadcasting & Cable. “We are a perfect match for any team who wants to do this, and so we’ll certainly be looking for other opportunities and there will be some coming up in the years to come,” he said. “They tend to come up as the contracts expire with the existing distributors, so it’s something we’re definitely keeping track of and looking forward to.”

Aside from the glowing optimism from Sinclair, the company isn’t without its’ share of criticism for claims of far-right news and more specifically costing LA Dodger fans local coverage for putting off cable providers for that area.

“There was a very, very high subscriber fee ask associated with Sports Net LA that was essentially needed to make the financing work for the purchase of the Dodgers,” Ripley said to Deadline. “So it was sort of a leveraged play. We don’t have that situation here. We’re not buying a team. We don’t have a huge ask on the table.”

Being arguably the hottest sports ticket in Chicago at the moment, this new television deal looks to capitalize off of the team’s earning power by breaking them away from NBC Sports who also houses the other three major Chicago sports teams. The network will feature Cubs content in and out of season, and judging from the words of Cubs president of business operations  Crane Kenney, there is a great deal of excitement from the Cubs’ end regarding this new deal.

“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.” said Kenney on the Mully & Haugh Show. “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.”

Next. Announcement of new TV deal brings controversy. dark

Additional details regarding the deal are still being revealed with questions of the cost of the new network for fans still awaiting a response as well as word circulating of additional sports programming being available through Sinclair. With Sinclair being the largest TV station group, the general belief and hope are that this shift will provide an enhanced experience for Cubs fans as the team prepares to face their 10-1 World Series odds this year while also remaining a contender for years to come.