Monday, February 18, 2013

Tribune: Cubs may say goodbye to WGN-TV after 2014 season


[VIDEO] Well, while sports broadcasting on TV may change I may miss the days I can catch a Cubs game on WGN if that is to ever pass. Things change but this shouldn't and besides once upon a time plenty of our local teams have had trouble finding a local outlet.

The Cubs in my memory have always been on WGN. It wasn't until fairly recently that you couldn't watch a Black Hawks home game on TV in Chicago. At that you couldn't even watch a game on WGN and now you can. The White Sox used to be on WFLD-TV or FOX 32 Chicago and now you can watch them on WGN and ditto for the Chicago Bulls!

Where will the Cubs go?
Cubs games have been broadcast on WGN-TV since 1948, a relationship that has been beneficial to both under three sets of ownership.

The hiring of Harry Caray and the move to become a superstation status spread the gospel of Cubs baseball nationally during the 1980s, helping turn the lovable losers into a lucrative franchise.

For years the Cubs were the only game on TV across the country in the daytime, making them a nationally beloved entity through thick and thin. That in turn helped increase the franchise's value from $20.5 million in 1981 when Tribune Co. bought it to $845 million when the Ricketts family purchased the team, the ballpark and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet in 2009.

But Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is always looking to increase the team's revenue sources, and now it appears likely the team will wave goodbye to their longtime TV home when its contract ends after the 2014 season.

Ricketts declined to address their plans on Sunday, except to say a discussion on rights fees will begin in 2013.

"Obviously local media rights have been increasing in value," he said. "Hopefully at some point we will be able to get more value for our media rights. It's just something that's playing out over time."
I suppose time will tell on this deal, yes? The video above is a Chicago Cubs broadcast intro from 1988 from WGN.

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