The Cubs Major League Baseball team is starting its own Marquee Network in a joint venture with Sinclair Broadcast Group next season, taking games off long-time broadcaster WGN-TV, WLS and NBC Sports Chicago.
But NBC Sports Chicago has already begun billing itself the exclusive home for the NHL's Blackhawks, the NBA's Bulls and the White Sox baseball team, effective Oct. 1, and said it will be televising more live games than ever.
The network said that with the change approaching, it has already secured about half of the network's subscribers with deals in place to be carried by Comcast Cable (Comcast is an owner of NBC Sports Net), RCN and WOW.
The regional sports network is also available on streaming services including YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, fubo TV and Sony PlayStation Vue.
"Currently, the channel will be distributed by Chicago’s three largest cable providers," the network said. "With the Blackhawks and Bulls seasons about to begin, we are working with urgency with every distributor to make sure Chicago sports fans don’t miss a single game.”
Dish said in a statement that “our goal is to keep NBC Sports Chicago available to our customers at a reasonable cost. We are unsure why NBC Sports Chicago has decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process, at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”
NBC Sports Chicago last week started running an ad campaign calling the channel “Your Home for Chicago Sports.”
“Fans in Chicago enjoy watching their favorite sports teams year-round on NBC Sports Chicago where they can find the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes access as well as the highest quality broadcast of our games,” the Blackhawks, Bulls and Sox said in a statement. “We’re excited as the network becomes the exclusive home for all three teams with more games than ever before. Chicago sports fans are the best in the world, and it’s important that they have access to all of our games on NBC Sports Chicago when, where and how they want to watch.”