CHICAGO — The Cubs will be launching Marquee Sports Network in February, just in time for Spring Training games. In the meantime, the club’s business arm continues to make progress with carriage agreements that will bring the team’s new regional network into more homes.
On Wednesday, Sinclair Broadcast Group — the Cubs’ partner in the Marquee venture — announced that it had reached a multiyear carriage agreement with Mediacom Communications to carry the new network. The deal with Mediacom follows carriage agreements with both AT&T and Charter Communications.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring Marquee Sports Network to Mediacom customers,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said in a release. “When you combine this deal with AT&T, we can guarantee that Cubs fans in our home territory across Chicago and the Midwest will have the ability to access the network next year.”
Mediacom provides carriage of Marquee in certain parts of Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Terms or financial details of the agreement were not provided.
News of the deal between Sinclair and Mediacom on Wednesday came one day after Marquee announced the hiring of Michael Santini as the senior vice president of programming and production for the Cubs’ network. Santini previously served as the vice president of production for MLB Network, which he helped launch in 2009.
At MLB Network, Santini headed the production department and oversaw such shows as “MLB Tonight” and “MLB Central,” among others. He also has 20 years of production experience in a variety of roles at MSG Networks in New York.
“To be selected to lead programming and production for Marquee Sports Network is beyond exciting,” Santini said in a release. “MLB Network was a challenging, fluid and fast-paced environment. I am honored and grateful to have that same opportunity this time in Chicago for one of the most iconic sports franchises with the best fan base in the game.”
With Marquee, Santini will be responsible for managing the network’s live programming, pregame and postgame shows and all original content. He will also oversee the network’s on-air talent, production staff and crew members.
Santini joins a group at Marquee Sports Network that is led by Michael McCarthy, who was hired in May to be the channel’s general manager. Previously, McCarthy was the president of the MSG Network, and also had leadership roles with the St. Louis Blues and Milwaukee Bucks. He had been a consultant for the Cubs dating back to August of ’18.
“As we near the launch of the network,” McCarthy said in Wednesday’s release, “we look forward to giving fans the in-depth Cubs content they want and deserve through multiple providers.”
Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.