Cubs aiming to launch in-market DTC streaming service in July

“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, just the channel, to see Cubs games,’ ’’ Crane Kenney said Saturday on The Score.

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The Cubs are planning to launch an in-market, direct-to-consumer streaming service for Marquee Sports Network after the All-Star break, team president of business operations Crane Kenney said Saturday on The Score.

“To reach our fans that have cut the cord, we’re introducing a streaming service this year,” Kenney said. “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, just the channel, to see Cubs games.”

Cord-cutting continues to eat away at cable and satellite subscriptions, spiking to 60% in 2022 for the five biggest U.S. pay-TV operators still publicly reporting subscriber counts, according to Next TV. No. 1 among those is Comcast, the dominant cable provider in the area, which lost 11.2% of its pay-TV customers last year.

“We’re taking our time to make sure this thing is exactly right,” Kenney said, “in terms of the quality of the program, the type of program, pricing, marketing, ease of access so it’s available on all devices, whether it’s Roku, a hand-held, etc.”

Kenney didn’t provide specifics on pricing, and Marquee didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Marquee is available on many pay-TV providers but only two streaming services, Fubo and DirecTV Stream. The Red Sox were the first MLB team to launch their own DTC service through their regional sports network, NESN, in June 2022. The Yankees launched theirs before Opening Day this season through YES, and the Mets are planning to through SNY.

MLB made Padres games available to stream in-market on MLB.TV when Diamond Sports Group returned the team’s TV rights to the league during its bankruptcy proceedings. The Padres had aired on Bally Sports San Diego, but the RSN is no more as the industry tries to navigate a rapidly changing media landscape.

The Red Sox’ service costs $29.99 per month and $329.99 per year. The Yankees’ costs $24.99 per month and $239.99 annually. MLB’s service for the Padres costs $19.99 per month.

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