The Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
This weekend, the much-anticipated and much-ballyhooed Marquee Network debuts. This is of relevance to the less than 50% of Chicago area homes that don’t subscribe to Comcast.
While the Ricketts family (and presumably, Cubs’ Baseball Operations) have been planning this launch for years, they never thought to secure a carriage contract from the single largest provider of television content to the Greater Chicagoland Area.
Now, Comcast isn’t all that thrilled by the whole idea of Marquee. They were quite content to stack cheddar with Comcast Sports Net Chicago, broadcasting Cub games and pocketing the ad revenue that came with it. Now they’re left with dead air and loss of revenue. So you better believe they’re not going to agree to carry Marquee until they can recoup their losses.
To make matters worse, someone who got hired and paid to come up with broadcast ideas took the one unscrewable pooch – Cubs broadcasts – and have planned to louse them up.
How can you possibly go wrong with the chemistry of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies in the booth calling Cub games? Easy. Fuck with the formula. There will now be a third person in the booth. This is a classic case of overtinkering with something that didn’t need any tinkering at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The NHL in Atlanta.
The Beatles’ Butcher Cover.
The other issue in the beginning will be coming up with 24 hours of daily content. They’re plugging a new documentary about Ernie Banks that will premiere tomorrow, but how many of those can they crank out? How soon until they do “A Horn Blows At Wrigley: The Carmen Fanzone Story”?
Kendall Jenner for Pepsi.
On top of this, their first huge PR blunder was announcing that Sinclair Broadcast Group would be the managing partner for the station. Sinclair’s reputation for buying local affiliates and plugging in one-sided political commentary as news didn’t sit well with a lot of fans who were worried that this would find its way into Cubs broadcasts…”Anthony Rizzo hit that fastball over the wall, and America will be more secure with a wall at the Mexican border!!!”
Plus, Sinclair’s only foray into sports broadcasting has been the Stadium Network, which is part-owned by White Sox/Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. So at least that bears some watching as those teams’ contracts run out with Comcast Sports Net.
Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts was booed at this year’s Cubs convention when the Marquee Network was mentioned. And now the rubber meets the road, and they’re going to need to start broadcasting, with no content and no carriage.
Custer at Little Big Horn.
The Marquee Network.