Updated 2:30 p.m.
Some Chicago Cubs fans are worried that the team's deal to launch a new network with Sinclair Broadcasting will see right-wing politics creeping onto the field.
The Cubs said Wednesday they plan to launch the “Marquee Sports Network” with Sinclair in 2020. The broadcaster is the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations and is known for its conservative bent.
The Cubs plan to launch its own network has been in the works for years, but many fans were surprised and angry Wednesday that the team will be partnering with Sinclair, taking to social media to vent.
“I’m so disappointed with the Cubs,” said Twitter user Amanda Gaddam. “It’s harder to remain a fan now than when they were losing 100 games.”
“Is Sinclair going to have ‘must run’ right wing propaganda during the 7th inning stretch?” Twitter user @m0hney asked.
Other Cubs fans said the decision was particularly galling in light of a recent news story that leaked racist and anti-Muslim emails from Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the team. Ricketts has since apologized.
“Cubs [did] a solid job distancing themselves from Joe Rickett’s emails and a week later they are partnering with Sinclair Broadcasting,” said Twitter user Drew White. “What’s next? Ted Nugent singing the stretch?”
In a statement, Cubs Spokesman Julian Green vigorously pushed back against the idea that Sinclair’s politics are coming to Wrigley Field, saying the partnership was “purely a business decision.”
“The Cubs and Sinclair are embarking on a regional sports network with no political slants of any kind,” he said.