By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) The Cubs now have a television home for all their 2015 games.
The team will soon announce a multi-year agreement with WGN that includes televising the 45 games in 2015 that previously didn’t have a home, two industry sources told The Score. Lawyers are hashing out the final details, and the contract could be announced sometime this week.
The games will only be shown on local WGN-TV, not WGN America, which is converting to a cable network and forgoing local programming. Whether these games will be syndicated outside of the Chicago area for others in the state remains unclear.
Approximately 70 games in 2015 went up for grabs when the Cubs opted out of a deal with WGN after the 2014 season. Of those, 25 were picked up by WLS-TV/ABC 7.
Comacast SportsNet Chicago will televise around 90 games.
It’s not known at this time if the new deal with WGN-TV is a straight rights agreement payout per broadcast. Some TV and radio rights agreements in recent years have included a joint venture that allows revenue sharing on advertising sales. This is done in lieu of a total payout from the station to the team for rights fees.
The Cubs and CSN Chicago have a contract that runs through the 2019 season, and it’d make good sense for the WGN deal to line up with that.
The Cubs and White Sox both will receive $650,000 per broadcast in 2015 from Comcast SportsNet. That stems from the partnership between the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Comcast. That figure increases every year, maxing out at $750,000 per broadcast in 2019.
The Cubs can’t go on any other cable provider until after the contract with Comcast expires. The Cubs hope to start their own network after 2019 or find a cable provider to pay what they estimate will be $1 million per game for Cubs broadcasting rights.