The Cubs were expected to announce the team’s new radio partner by Opening Day, but both the first game of the year and the home opener passed without an announcement. According to a report from Chicago Business Journal, the Cubs could be close to announcing their new broadcast partners.
Lewis Lazare reported “decisions about which outlets will get the contracts for years to come could be made in the next two or three weeks.” Tribune Co. owned WGN TV and 720 WGN Radio could still be options but it appears CBS Radio is a “serious bidder” and “the likely outlet for Cubs games in the CBS Radio stable locally would be all-news WBBM-AM (780), which is simulcast on the FM dial at 105.9.” WBBM-AM is the radio home of the Chicago Bears.
On the television side, “FOX-owned WFLD-Channel 32 may be the frontrunner.” The games currently aired on WGN TV must remain on an open-air channel and moving the WGN games to FOX would meet the criteria. Lewis Lazare reported, “The Fox network has always coveted sports content. And money is certainly no object to FOX and the Rupert Murdoch clan.”
720 WGN exercised an option last October to re-open their contract with the Cubs. 720 WGN wanted to renegotiate their deal with the team due to sharply declining ratings. WGN reportedly pays the Cubs around $10 million a season for the team’s radio rights. WGN has been broadcasting Cubs games since 1925.
The Cubs opted out of their contract with WGN TV in November that would end their relationship with their longtime network after the 2014 season. The Cubs current contract with Comcast SportsNet runs through the 2019 season.
- Full Report from Chicago Business Journal
- October 17, 2013 – WGN Radio Exercising Option to Re-Open Contract with the Cubs
- November 6, 2013 – Cubs Reportedly Opt Out of Contract with WGN TV for After 2014 Season