According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs have opted out of their contract, as expected, with WGN TV following the 2014 season. The contract between the team and longtime network has an opt out for after the 2014 season that the team exercised on Tuesday.
The Cubs are under contract with Comcast SportsNet through the 2019 season and if they did not exercise the option on Tuesday with WGN they would have been locked into the current deal through the 2022 season.
The team is reportedly paid around $60 million per season from WGN and Comcast SportsNet to televise the games, with $20 million coming from the games broadcast on WGN.
According to the Tribune, “on Tuesday, the team notified the Tribune Co.-owned station it had 30 days to meet a higher assesses fair market value for the broadcast rights, or they would be open for negotiation with other media.”
The Tribune explained that a third party consultant hired by the team and WGN “determined the increased valuation.”
If the Cubs and WGN-TV do not come to a new agreement within 30 days, the team can shop for better options to carry the games that would have been part of the WGN -TV package.
It is very likely the Cubs and WGN-TV will work out a new contract that expires following the 2019 season. Having both the WGN-TV deal and Comcast SportsNet contract on the same terms would give the team options, such as their own network, moving forward.