The Chicago Cubs may end up leaving their flagship TV station WGN after the 2014 season reports the Chicago Tribune. The Cubs have been on WGN since 1948, becoming popular across the nation (much like the Atlanta Braves around the same time period) due to their flagship network's status as a superstation broadcasting nationally.
But much like the Braves leaving TBS in the mid-00s, all good things must come to an end. Thanks to the increased money involved with local cable outlets and soaring broadcast rights, including the incredible cash windfall the Dodgers are receiving in their new agreement, teams are chasing huge television dollars .
The Cubs confirmed they're putting their games that currently air on WGN on the open market and will look to get a substantial increase in broadcast rights. Where will the Cubs end up landing if they leave WGN? The choice seems obvious: CSN Chicago are favorites to land the entire Cubs schedule. The Ricketts family, who purchased the Cubs in 2009, acquired 20% of CSN Chicago in the sale. However, CSN Chicago has a glut of programming, including most White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks games that would directly impact the Cubs. The easiest solution is to put one game on CSN and one on CSN Plus (which is what MASN does with the Orioles and Nationals), but it's still hundreds of games to squeeze in with such a big market.
The other logical option for the Cubs is to start their own network. This has been kicked around for years now, and the Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers have definitely given the Cubs a blueprint to work from. You'd think a Cubs network would gain a lot of traction nationally due to the team's popularity, and if the Ricketts family could get it positioned like YES, they'd be in great shape. But, that can't happen until CSN Chicago's portion of the Cubs rights expire in 2019.
For now, CSN Chicago looks like the slight favorite in my book to capture all Cubs games, if only because of the Ricketts' ownership in the network and the fact that WGN will have to pay a significant increase for Cubs rights. This could represent the end of an era for WGN and Cubs fans around the country. Teams are going to search for every dollar they can in broadcast rights in order to keep up with the likes of the Dodgers and Yankees. If that means leaving behind a national audience and moving games to the highest bidder, so be it.
No, please keep them on. Need some free OTA baseball, well not being charged an extra 100 dollars to buy some stupid package or get spammed with Nationals coverage on FOX. i just saw the Saturday schedule and its going to be a nightmare locally with 4 weekends in a row of Gnats coverage.
“@awfulannouncing: Could the Cubs possibly leave WGN and the superstation era in the near future? http://t.co/MGbdXWFy” Just not right.
Question for the biz savvy, any chance the #Cubs parlay their Comcast affiliation (thru '19) into an #NBCSN deal if ties are cut with WGN? NBC desperate for ratings, wanting to expand footprint... Cubs shopping for a new outlet. Seems logical in a Notre Dame-esque capacity. Would the MLB have a say? Would it be worth it for either party? Just Curious.
@AJLittle304 “@awfulannouncing: Could the Cubs possibly leave WGN and the superstation era in the near future? http://t.co/DPyFCH1d”
@awfulannouncing That would be a total shame if that happens. Grew up watching Cubs games on WGN in the afternoons when I was a kid
@awfulannouncing A slight note: I believe all of the Chicago teams that play on CSN CHI have an ownership stake in channel.
I would hate for the Cubs to leave WGN especially since i remember watching them play more growing up over the Atlanta Braves, due to the fact that the Chicago Cubs have normally played most of their Home Games during the day, while all of the other MLB teams play most of their Home Games at night!
Another stupid moves in a series of stupid moves for the Cubs' organization. No wonder they haven't won a World Series in more than a century!! :(
Say it aint so!. Not a Cubs fan by any means but if they leave WGN that can only mean more White Sox games and more Hawk. "You can put it on the boooard...." Yuck.