The Chicago Cubs and ABC-7/WLS-TV made it official and announced a television partnership Friday morning that runs through the 2019 season. ABC-7 will televise 25 games per year beginning with the 2015 season.
The Cubs will make an official announcement soon of the media partner for the remaining games not under contract to Comcast SportsNet or ABC-7. The team has ensured the Cubs entire 162-game schedule will be televised in 2015.
ABC-7 becomes the first network-owned television station in Chicago to pick up game broadcast rights in 68-year Chicago Cubs broadcast history.
Financial terms of the partnership between the Cubs and ABC-7 were not disclosed.
Updated 11:43am CST – According to Darren Rovell, the market value of the games on ABC-7 is about $750,000 per game and the five-year deal is likely worth more than $90 million.
The Chicago Cubs and WLS-TV/ABC 7 CHICAGO Friday announced a historic partnership for television rights to Cubs games. For the first time in the 68-year television broadcast history of the Chicago Cubs, baseball games will air on ABC-7. ABC-7 will air 25 games per year through 2019. Starting in April of 2015, Cubs games will begin airing on ABC-7 Chicago in primetime, daytime and weekends.
“We are excited to have WLS-TV as our new television broadcast partner,” President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said in a statement. “WLS-TV has established itself as a trusted voice in Chicago, and we look forward to a new chapter of Cubs baseball airing on the flagship station of the ABC television network.”
According to John Idler, President and General Manager of ABC 7, “ABC 7 is thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for the Chicago Cubs organization, and we welcome Cubs fans to the #1 station in Chicago. Like all Cubs fans, we are eager to celebrate the 2015 Chicago Cubs.”
The station also said it is confident this matchup will offer advertisers rich opportunities next season.
“When the most-watched station in Chicago teams up with our city’s most storied franchise, it can’t help but generate excitement for our viewers while providing our ABC sales team the opportunity to offer extraordinary media opportunities to our clients in Chicago and across the country,“ Vincent Sollecito, Vice President and General Sales Manager of ABC 7 said in a statement.
Kenney added the Cubs will soon announce the home for the team’s remaining games not currently under contract to ABC 7 or Comcast SportsNet, ensuring all Cubs games will be on the air in Chicago next season.
“We will complete our broadcast realignment shortly, allowing every Cubs fan in Chicago the opportunity to watch every game of what we believe will be an exciting and competitive season.”
Updated 8:47pm CST with Correction: According to a report from Robert Feder, the press release issued by ABC-7 and the Cubs is incorrect. George Castle caught the mistake and pointed out Cubs home games were televised for one season on Ch. 7 in 1949. Rogers Hornsby called the games on WENR-TV. Cubs games that season were available on three different channels.