The Chicago Cubs are the latest MLB team to make a sizable move toward direct-to-consumer local streaming — but they’re taking a far different approach from recent emergency moves by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.
One of the league’s most famous franchises and their Marquee Sports Network completed long-discussed plans to introduce a local streaming subscription offering the team’s live games, studio programming, documentaries, and other content for $19.99 per month.
The Marquee streaming element resembles that of other team-owned regional sports networks such as the New York Yankees’ YES Network and Boston Red Sox’s NESN, both of whom have started selling digital in-market plans, albeit at higher monthly prices.
With relatively little notice, MLB took over production of those teams’ games due to the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of Bally Sports parent Diamond Sports Group, with a temporary structure offering games for a local streaming fee of $19.99 per month.
As cord-cutting continues to fundamentally reshape the entire U.S. media landscape — slashing the number of traditional pay-TV households from 102.1 million in 2014 to 63.2 million in 2023, but without replacing the lost revenue from linear TV — teams continue to search for answers on how to reach fans.
“Ultimately, I hope the league comes up with a system where any fan can watch any game anywhere, but there’s legacy systems we’re going to have to work out,” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said.