January 24, 2020 Update:
NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago Plus Removed from TV Lineup February 1.
As a community-owned cable system, we work to satisfy the wide range of customers’ viewing preferences and deliver the best value for your dollar. Recently, we have been working on your behalf to renew our contract with NBC Sports Chicago, CFU channel 31/431. Unfortunately, we are unable to renew our contract to carry the network at a reasonable rate. NBC Sports Chicago was removed from the CFU TV lineup February 1.
Starting in 2020, NBC Sports Chicago will no longer broadcast Chicago Cubs games. The Cubs have chosen to form their own independent sports network, The Marquee Network. The Marquee Network will broadcast most Cubs regular season games. CFU is currently negotiating an agreement to add the Cubs Marquee Network to Basic Plus.
Even as they lose the Cubs games, NBC Sports Chicago is demanding a large monthly fee to provide the network to CFU customers. They also refuse to allow CFU to place the networks on a sports tier for customers who want the network. Rising network fees are the main reason cable and satellite TV bills go up from year to year. In fact, about 80% of the price customers pay for our most popular TV plan goes to pay carriage fees to broadcast stations and cable networks. If we retained NBC Sports Chicago, the cost to CFU TV customers would be $275,000 per year.
When CFU surveyed customers in the fall of 2019, the large majority of customers told us that the Cubs were the most important Chicago sports team to keep on CFU TV. We will continue coverage of the Cubs with The Marquee Network. However, we understand that some customers may be disappointed in the decision to discontinue carriage of NBC Sports Chicago. CFU rarely drops channels. In this case, we believe it is a necessary step to keep cable service affordable. As we face increased programming costs across the lineup, we will continue to make community input the guiding force for CFU TV service.
Q: Where will I be able to watch Iowa High School Boys Championships?
A: NBC Sports Chicago no longer holds the rights to broadcast Iowa High School Boys Championships. The Iowa High School Athletic Association and their TV distribution partner, Iowa High School Sports Network, have not finalized their distribution plans for 2019 and future years. Future championships are expected to be widely available across the state. Read more in the Des Moines Register.
Q: Where will I be able to watch UNI Men's Basketball and other MVC basketball games?
A: UNI Men's Basketball home games that air on NBC Sports Chicago will continue to be available to CFU TV customers on Channel 15/HD415 as part of the Panther Sports Network. Occasionally, UNI games at Illinois schools will be available exclusively on NBC Sports Chicago. Missouri Valley Conference tournament games will continue to be available on Fox Sports Midwest, CBS Sports and CBS.