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Will Marquee Sports Network strike a deal with Comcast before Feb. 22 launch date?

Less than 24 hours after chairman Tom Ricketts was booed about Marquee, president of business operations Crane Kenney convened an entire Cubs Convention session on the subject.

Less than 24 hours after chairman Tom Ricketts was booed about Marquee Sports Network, team president of business operations Crane Kenney opened an entire Cubs Convention session on the subject.
Less than 24 hours after chairman Tom Ricketts was booed about Marquee Sports Network, team president of business operations Crane Kenney opened an entire Cubs Convention session on the subject.
Sun-Times Media

Less than 24 hours after chairman Tom Ricketts was booed about Marquee Sports Network, president of business operations Crane Kenney convened an entire Cubs Convention session on the subject.

On Saturday, Kenney announced several new details regarding carriage agreements, programming updates and personnel hirings during his business-operations panel.

The Cubs set Feb. 22 as their launch date for Marquee, which will be the exclusive home for all their games starting this season.

One of the biggest questions still surrounding Marquee, however, is how accessible it will be to fans.

Kenney said he expects all major streaming services to carry the network. As far as cable distribution, however, there’s still work to be done.

As reported last fall, AT&T, DirecTV, Mediacom and Spectrum are the four major distributors that will carry Marquee. Kenney also said Marquee has struck a deal with 27 other carriers, including RCN.

Those carriers, Kenney said, make up roughly 40 percent of the Cubs’ coverage area.

But there’s one major carrier that hasn’t agreed to Marquee’s terms: Comcast, the largest cable provider in the Chicago area.

Kenney said the Cubs had conversations with Comcast as recently as last week and indicated he was ‘‘confident’’ a deal would get done before the season, though he urged fans to call Comcast about Marquee.

As for programming, fans can expect hourlong pregame and postgame shows. There also will be a show called ‘‘Cubs All-Access,’’ which will be the equivalent of HBO’s ‘‘Hard Knocks,’’ and a Cubs countdown show that will highlight the best players and moments in the team’s history.

Marquee, in partnership with MLB Network, is also in the process of producing documentaries on Ernie Banks, Harry Caray and Ryne Sandberg.

And that’s just the beginning, general manager Mike McCarthy said.