Chicago Cubs, Sinclair to launch sports network in 2020

The Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group are launching a regional sports network in 2020 that will be the team's exclusive TV home.

The Cubs said Wednesday the Marquee Sports Network will carry live game broadcasts and pregame and postgame coverage. Cubs games will now in one place, instead of split between two broadcast stations. The Cubs signed five-year contracts with WGN and WLS in 2014 ahead of plans for the network launch in 2020.

Cubs games have appeared on WGN since 1948.

Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley tells the Chicago Tribune negotiations are under way to sign up cable and satellite providers and streaming services for the network.

Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney expressed confidence fans will have many ways to watch, saying the team expects "to have more distribution with the new network than we have today."

Cubs games have been broadcast locally in recent years by WNDY-TV Channel 23 and sister station WISH-TV Channel 8. The Indianapolis stations showed about 70 Cubs games in 2018.

Sinclair Broadcast Group almost became the owner of local stations WTTV-TV Channel 4 and WXIN-TV Channel 59 last year, but its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of station owner Tribune Media Co. was called off in August.

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