Cord-cutting Cubs fans got a big win earlier this week when it was announced that Marquee Sports Network had reached a carriage agreement with Hulu, the first such deal with a streaming partner. Offered via the Hulu + Live platform — base of $54.99 monthly, $60.99 for commercial free — it seemed like this might be the final push many folks needed to change providers.
“We are thrilled to partner with Hulu and add them to our growing list of over 30 affiliates who will carry the network,” said Mike McCarthy, Marquee’s general manager. “We’ve heard from countless Hulu subscribers who were keenly interested to see their favorite baseball team. And now, they will!”
Ah, but having a carriage agreement in place doesn’t necessarily mean Marquee will be available immediately. Even with a carrier that presumably has a little less red tape than outfits like AT&T or Comcast, Hulu still needs to iron some details out. After hearing via social media that things probably wouldn’t be buttoned up by Saturday’s launch, I contacted Hulu to find out for myself.
As I learned, they may not have anything in place until after spring training.
“Please note that Marquee Sports Network will be added to the Hulu + Live TV channel lineup for subscribers located where Chicago regional sports networks are available,” a customer service rep informed me in a chat.
“We hope to have the Marquee Sports Network added to our Hulu + Live TV service before MLB opening day (3/26).” [emphasis mine]
That’s kind of a buzzkill, especially after initial buzz was already dampened by the revelation that Marquee will only be available within the bounds of the Cubs’ regional broadcast territory. I was able to confirm, however, that there’s still potential for Marquee to be up and running on Hulu prior to the start of the regular season. So hey, that’s something.
This makes me happy that I didn’t go ahead and pull the plug on DirecTV, since I’ll need to tune to channel 664 over the next couple weeks at the very least. Those of you who initiated a free trial of Hulu + Live will want to keep a close eye on this over the next few days, since it may end up being just a dry run for you. The silver lining here is that it increases the chances that you’ll have a little more choice by the time real games start, since YouTube TV could be the next domino to fall.
As always, we’ll try to keep you informed to the best of our ability.
Update: Hey, there’s already some additional news. The Cubs announced in a press release Friday afternoon that Hulu+Live subscribers would have Marqee “in the near future,” which is a nice way of saying if might take a while. The much bigger takeaway from that same release was that there’s a Marquee app.
Fans can now access the Marquee Sports Network App, which is a live and on-demand sports content mobile application and desktop experience. The App will include on-demand, Cubs-centric video content and live streaming of Marquee Sports Network programming, including live Cubs games, for users who authenticate using their content provider credentials.
Most providers have already enabled their customers to use Marquee Sports Network’s App, which means Cubs fans beginning Saturday can access the network and its content—again, including live Cubs games—on their devices, on the go and on demand. AT&T/DIRECTV and Spectrum authentication capabilities will follow shortly after launch.
The Marquee Sports Network App is available to download on iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android (smartphones and tablets), Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku players. Subscribers can also watch the network live at WatchMarquee.com.