The Chicago Cubs Business Plans To Launch A New Division, A TV Network

It is only money.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan attached his signature to legislation that would change cable TV. Reagan socialized cable TV in that everyone who subscribed had basically three choices. Take a local package. Or take a local package with a basic tier and on that tier customers would pay for programming or networks whether they watch them or not. Or just say no. In 2020, the Chicago Cubs baseball team’s business arm is launching a regional cable TV network with its partner the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Cubs’ ownership is hoping that cable and satellite operators will add the network and pass the channel’s cost to customers. The Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network will add about four dollars a month to subscribers’ bills. But in the minds of Cubs’ ownership it is fine for non-Cubs fans and non-baseball fans and non-sports fans also to pay about $50 annually to support the network. The choice is simple pay for Cubs TV or cut the cord. The team is betting cable subscribers will pay extra whether they want Cubs TV or not.

It remains to be seen if Cubs TV will succeed. In Los Angeles, Dodgers ownership decided to launch a cable TV network. Spectrum SportsNet LA began operations in 2014. The Dodgers’ brass got a reported $8.35 billion over a 25 year period deal from Time Warner Cable. The Dodgers brand is immensely popular in Southern California and the thought was that cable systems would never pass up the opportunity to add the Dodgers channel. Most Los Angeles market cable and satellite operators have said no to the Dodgers channel because it is too expense in the cable operators’ minds for their customers. Most Dodgers fans have not seen the team around LA area on cable since 2013. That could happen in Chicago.