Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network debuts

Marquee Sports Network, the long-planned regional sports network from Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, debuted over the Feb. 22-23 weekend, but remains without carriage on the region’s largest distributor.

The network is available on more than 40 cable and satellite providers in the Chicago area, including DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, and RCN. But Comcast, the largest carrier in the region, has not yet agreed to put Marquee Sports Network on any of its channel lineups.

Marquee Sports Network’s weekend programming began with a mix of documentary shows and live coverage of Cubs’ Spring Training games from Arizona.

“In Marquee Sports Network, Cubs fans are getting what they deserve, a network as dedicated to the team as they are,” said Mike McCarthy, Marquee Sports Network general manager.

But a planned distribution on the Hulu streaming service has been pushed back until next month. And many other fans over the weekend reported on social media of being unable to find the network on their systems, suggesting a lack of marketing heading into the on-air debut.

Over the course of the season, the network will show 28 Cubs Spring Training games, and at least 145 regular season games from the club.

Marquee Sports Network is a joint venture between the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The Cubs’ move to the team-controlled RSN has not been particularly popular with fans. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was loudly booed last month at the Cubs Convention in Chicago when discussing the impending debut of Marquee.