The ABC O&O to become first network-owned station in Chicago to pick up game broadcast rights in the 68-year Chicago Cubs TV broadcast history.
The Chicago Cubs and ABC-owned WLS Chicago (DMA 3) today 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 WLS.
The station will present 25 games per year through 2019. Starting in April of 2015, Cubs games will begin airing on WLS in primetime, daytime and weekends.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “the Cubs opted out of an agreement with Tribune Media’s WGN last year, freeing up about 70 games on television next season. Where the balance of next season’s television schedule ends up remains to be seen,” but sources tell the Tribune WGN or cable’s CSN Chicago may pick up the remaining games.
“We are excited to have ABC 7 Chicago as our new television broadcast partner,” said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. “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.”
John Idler, WLS president-GM, said: “ABC 7 is thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for the Chicago Cubs organization, and we welcome Cub fans to the No. 1 station in Chicago. Like all Cubs fans, we are eager to celebrate the 2015 Chicago Cubs.”
Kenney added the Cubs will soon announce the home for the team’s remaining games not currently under contract to WLS 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 in 2015.”