In what continues to be a long and quiet offseason for baseball, the Chicago Cubs still seem to be making moves. However, this latest rumor isn't about them signing Carlos Correa or bringing back Anthony Rizzo. Rather, it appears the Cubs are interested in launching a streaming service despite pushback from MLB.
In today's MLB, the largest teams have their own cable networks. The Cubs are part of that group thanks to Marquee Sports Network. Now, it appears a streaming service is in talks to become a part of the product the Cubs have to offer in their 50-50 partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group. However, despite an idea that makes a ton of sense, it is met with pushback from MLB.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has concern that Sinclair has too much debt to produce a quality broadcast on a streaming service, per the New York Post. However, it really feels like this concern is driven by fear. What kind of fear? The fear that MLB will finally start losing full control of their content.
MLB's Movement Toward Modernization
MLB is currently one of the most stingy leagues when it comes to the use of its content. Most other leagues encourage sharing their video content on all social media platforms. However, MLB's protective approach has led to a lot of lost viewership for the great plays and players in the game.
Streaming for MLB means moving into the new age. However, Sinclair owns Bally Sports, which has assumed TV rights for a number of MLB teams in the last season or two. If Bally continues to pick up more teams' viewership rights, then Sinclair's desired 14-team minimum would be enough to execute on their plan.
In the New York Post article, MLB apparently already has intentions of launching a streaming service. However, Sinclair is taking the initiative to try to launch a platform before the league does. Perhaps this desire will force the league to execute its plan sooner. However, in order for that to happen, baseball needs a product to stream on the field first.