Cubs Reportedly Opt Out of Contract with WGN TV for After 2014 Season

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.

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  • John G.

    “Baseball time is here again
    You can catch it all on CSN
    So stamp your feet and clap your hands
    Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans”

    Yeah! That works. Except for all of us who don’t live there any more.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Another 90 plus loss season in 2014….and there will be no clapping of the hands heard at Wrigley.

  • BosephHeyden

    I don’t know how this one will work out for the Cubs, or how they think this one will work out. Right now, they’re the only ones with a “superstation” broadcasting their games now that TBS carries playoff baseball and some All-Star specials. Getting an extra $20 million from WGN makes some sense, because it just seems weird that Comcast is paying more for a few less games, but not having WGN any more also hurts the Cubs just as much as it hurts WGN, since all of sudden fans not in Illinois or some bordering cities in other states lose their ability to watch them without dishing out money for an MLB package. Not to mention, who would take Cubs baseball? I know Fox Sports and NBC both have expanded their channels, but even then you’re looking at either Fox Sports Two (formerly Fuel) or one of NBC’s random sports channels (unlikely NBC Sports) as the new home for Cubs baseball, and neither seems like a particularly good option (not to mention Comcast Sportsnet would probably not be too happy a competitor is getting the same games they are).

    It’s a tricky situation, because money they make in the deal has the potential to be somewhat countered by money lost in merchandising in the long run. And if the Cubs don’t get competitive by the time the deal ends, then all of a sudden you have a team that doesn’t have national exposure, a nationwide fanbase, or a winning tradition, meaning that renegotiations suddenly turn to the favor of the channel that hosts the Cubs.

    I like that the Cubs are finally growing a set and trying to get more money for their TV brand, because it is there right now. But they need to do their best to not lose WGN. With the Bulls and Blackhawks both being perennial playoff teams with WGN exposure at their back, WGN can likely afford to lose the Cubs. But unless the Cubs have a legitimate “superstation” ready to pick up WGN’s load of games, which may be tricky in this day and age, they shouldn’t push too hard.

    • Dorasaga

      The last thing I’ll worry is what Comcast thinks about competing against FOX. If the Cubs really sign a deal with fox, I’m sure the latter will start a good marketing strategy, merchandise sale, all those perks, and even a new Cubs station for the club–both nationally AND internationally. After all, fox wants to monopolize baseball broadcast, which is what they’re doing, and they are doing a dang good job on it.

    • Sonate

      I generally agree. What made Chicago a “Cubs” town was the televising of ALL home games. The White Sox thought it would reduce stadium revenues! Now there are Cub fans across the country seeking to find a cable provider that televises their games. I grew up in the “south side” of Chicago but television helped make it an even bet at who was a Sox fan or Cubs fan.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I agree 1 million percent with you.

        When all the games were broadcast, everybody was a Cubs fan. And there
        were Cubs’ fans all across the nation. If they don’t watch it, they will have a
        shrinking fan base in years to come.

      • K_Gripp

        I live in Iowa and the reason I was a Cubs fan is because as a kid I would watch every single game on WGN. During the summer the game would be on the tv unless I was outside listening to it on the radio. While school was in session I would hurry home from school to catch the end of the Cubs game. I know many old ladies in Iowa who never missed a pitch because the games were always on WGN. The reason the Cubs have one of the top 3 road attendance turnouts is because people across the country grew up watching Cubs baseball on WGN.

        I get nostalgic about WGN broadcasts but the writing has been on the wall for awhile. We are moving towards a 24/7 Chicago Cubs station that can be picked up anywhere in the world for a fee. As long as my kids can come home from school, flip on the TV, and watch the end of the Cubs game I will be happy. No matter what station its broadcast on.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Hopefully, with us being the third largest baseball market, the Ricketts can start spending some of the new tv revenue money on top level free agents when they get a new tv contract……no one knows who the big free agents will be when the time comes,……lets hope the Cubs spend wisely ……………especially keeping any of our Prospects in our system if they turn into future HOF’s ……..Almora, Soler, Bryant & Baez agents will be licking their chops when the time come for extensions in the years to come.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Well duh. That’s the plan!

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I believe the plan is build up the family bank account and sell the team without spending too much.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    No official word yet on Renteria press conference for Thursday…..
    Makes you wonder!
    Manny Acta name is popping back up at Wrigley.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Keith Moreland out at WGN

    • 07GreyDigger

      Sad. I mean he was terrible. But sad a man lost his job.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        he left, not fired……..and yes, he was terrible.

  • CubbyDenCritic
  • CubbyDenCritic

    Poor Keith….could not take another 90 plus loss season.
    So let the interview process begin of who will take Keith’s place next to Pat Hughes……
    Candidates…..
    Dale Sveum……Garry Matthews…….Dave Martinez……Lee Elia……..the guy who sat next to Bob Uecker and said nothing in the movie “Major League”………Marla Collins………Ronnie Woo Woo…….Les Grobstein ( no singing please)……..Ric Sutcliffe……..Jonathen Brandmeir…………a sober Mark Grace.

  • Tony_Hall

    Renteria is signed sealed and finally able to travel, so it is time to have a press conference announcing him as the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.

  • Tony_Hall

    And for everyone that thinks this job hunt took forever and therefor was a big screw-up.

    Bruce Miles @BruceMiles2112
    For those anxious about #Cubs timeline, note Theo hired Francona Dec. 4, 2003, and Hendry hired Dusty Nov. 15, 2002
    1:32 PM – 6 Nov 2013

    There is nothing for a manager to do this time of year, except sit in on a few meetings and quite often on a conference call. The Cubs set a self-imposed timeframe of November 11th and have finished the search with 5 days to spare.

  • Tony_Hall

    Does everyone also realize that the Cubs had to ask permission of the Padres just to interview Renteria, like all candidates for manager who are with another team? You see he has a contract, better known as an “agreement” to coach the Padres in 2014. So the Cubs, not wanting to limit their search to just the unemployed, used a common practice of asking the Padres for permission to interview their bench coach for the position of manager of the Chicago Cubs, a promotion. The Padres could have said no, and enforced their “agreement” with Renteria. But they do what most MLB teams do and not stand in the way of a coach when they have an opportunity to become a manager. Classy organization out on the WEST Coast!

    • cubtex

      Lol. One question Mr. Hall. Is there any written agreement between the Padres and Cubs to not raid any of the Padres personnel?

      • Tony_Hall

        Nope, just the agreement between Rick Renteria and the San Diego Padres. Not sure how Mr Renteria can live with himself after not saying no the Cubs, since he had an agreement with the Padres and all.

    • cubtex

      Has nothing to do with class. I am sure Boston would have let Lovullo interview with any other team that would have asked. You know Tony, when you drive and see that sign on the side of road that says 65, you are not legally supposed to go faster. Rules, Laws and guidelines are a good thing.

      • Tony_Hall

        Yeah, that’s the same thing. How do you explain the Padres agreeing to let Renteria interview with another team, when he had an agreement with them, agreeing to not coach for other teams and be the Padres bench coach.

        • cubtex

          It must have been a long day for me because I do not have a clue on what you are trying to say.

          • Tony_Hall

            Renteria has an agreement with the Padres. He is not honoring that contract and walking away from them. All agreements have exceptions, and in baseball, it is when a coach can interview for a managers job. All manager candidates have to get this approval from their current team before interviewing for a managers job with another team. It is standard operating procedure to give consent to allow your coaches the opportunity to interview.

          • cubtex

            Look. I have exhausted this topic. Any team who does not have any specific restrictions for one of their employees to better themselves would not stand in their way. This was strictly a Red Sox/ Cubs deal. If Lovullo got interest from any other team…it would have been a non issue. And that is all she wrote on this! I am done!

          • Tony_Hall

            And just like all other 29 teams, they could have waived their contractual rights that ALL teams have with their signed and contracted coaches to allow them the opportunity to advance their career to the next step and interview for a managers job. Giving exception to one agreement is just as easy as the other, the Red Sox have looked extremely petty in this ordeal.

          • John_CC

            Zing! I read that quote earlier today, a sharp critique from one of the respected national writers. I expect more columns on the subject, would like to hear Passan’s take. Sorry Suzy, but the Red Sox dropped another rung.

          • Sir Gladiator

            You’re exactly right, and let’s face it, the Red Sox just won the World Series, no-one is more magnanimous than when something awesome just happened to them. So if this is the way that the folks who run the Red Sox behave when things are going their way, one wonders exactly how horrible these people are when things are going badly for them. These are low class human beings who deserve (and receive from me) absolutely zero respect after this horrible behavior. It’s a shame people like that won the World Series, they certainly don’t deserve to win another one after what they did. Hopefully Renteria will lead us to the World Series against Boston next year, and we will sweep them as they so richly deserve!

      • Dorasaga

        Logically irrelevant. Rules, laws, protocols are installed to prevent government and individuals to falsely assume power and make stupid mistakes, because without peer pressure or checks, people or an organization as a whole is selfish, and we make mistakes all the time, sometimes of irrevocable consequences.

        Stopping an individual like a coach, Renteria, to take a chance of advancing in his career would be selfish. It’s also an “agreement” that we are talking about. The coach can always give up and leave the organization who installed it, through a resignation, even give back the salary paid in advance, if Renteria dared to pursue the Cubs job, instead of returning to the Padres for a while. There would be NO legal consequences for Renteria in this scenario.

        I hope this makes sense.

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