Is the sun setting on the marriage between the Cubs and WGN?
WGN had broadcast Chicago Cubs games since 1948. The station is carried on many cable and satellite carriers. For those that head to the station in order to catch a Chicago Cubs game, those days may be nearing an end.
Yesterday, The Chicago Tribune released a report that the Cubs have notified WGN the club has exercised an option to get out from its current deal. With the club exercising this option, 2014 could represent the last season Cubs games will be carried on the network.
From Robert Channick’s article…
The team notified the Tribune Co.-owned station on Tuesday it had 30 days to agree to substantially higher fees for the 2015 season and beyond, or the broadcast rights would be opened up for negotiation with other media, according to a source close to the situation.
Exercising this option also creates another “clause”, if you will. Even if WGN agrees within the 30-day window, three years are stripped away from the agreement. The “new” contract will run to 2019 and not the original year of 2022. The 2019 date would coincide with the deal the Cubs have with Comcast.
That is something worth noting.
Should WGN not come to an agreement with the team, a new TV home for roughly 70 Cubs games would be open to the highest bidder. Channick also notes this move could potentially open the door for the Cubs to start their own network. The Cubs currently receive $20 million a year from WGN. Seeing the monies the Los Angeles Dodgers will be getting from their own network – $7 billion over 25 years – it’s easy to see why the Cubs are taking this stance.
YES, it is.