Set to launch in February, the Marquee Sports Network is set to broadcast about 150 Cubs regular-season games per season as part of 24-hour coverage of the franchise. However, as the 2020 MLB season approaches, the network has yet to reach a carriage agreement with Comcast, which controls about 50 percent of the local market, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The promise for the next 10 years is to continue to have the best relationship with our fans of any professional sports team in the world, and that starts with the Marquee Network,” Ricketts said, prompting a wave of boos from the crowd. “What do you have against the Marquee Network? Believe me, you won’t be booing about that in a year.”
Cubs executives have expressed confidence they will eventually come to terms with Comcast to carry the Marquee Sports Network. Prior to the network’s launch, Cubs games aired on local network WGN for more than seven decades. With the move to Marquee Sports Network, fans will have to pay a carriage fee to watch the home team.
It’s unclear if the crowd’s boos when Ricketts took the stage were directed entirely at the Marquee Sports Network.
Cubs management has also faced criticism over a relatively quiet offseason which lacked a major free-agent acquisition. Negotiations with star third baseman Kris Bryant have yet to yield an extension, sparking speculation that he could be traded.
Ricketts downplayed the crowd’s reaction during an appearance on local radio station WSCR-AM 670 last Saturday.
“I’m not sure I was being booed,” Ricketts said, according to the Chicago Tribune, adding that he was “confident” the Cubs would reach a deal with Comcast.