WLS Lands 25 Chicago Cubs Games

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.”

Comments (9)

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Kristine Melser says:

December 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I find this interesting because as an abc O&O and network affiliate tied to ESPN how much less sports coverage will be they be getting from the cable sports network next year?

Ida Anderson says:

December 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The lede is a little misleading. Baseball games have aired on WLS in the past as part of ABC network’s MLB coverage in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Teri Keene says:

December 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Actually, the forerunner to WLS (WBKB-TV) ran Chicago Cubs games in 1949, per Cubs historian George Castle.

Teri Keene says:

December 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Whoops wrong call letters. It was WENR-TV

none none says:

December 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm

There is something very sad about ABC moving all the quality sports programs over to ESPN, hurting their affiliated stations, then allowing an O and O to pick up local games.

Linda Leavell says:

December 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm

ABC O&O and MLB Markets local rights deal soon?

    Linda Leavell says:

    December 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    let’s See:WABC-Yankees or Mets, KABC-Dodgers or Angels, WLS-Cubs, WPVI-Phillies, KGO- Giants, KTRK-Astors Whats Next for ABC Buying WFAA-Rangers, WJLA-Nations, Ect or NO More O&O? hurting their affiliated stations.

Keith ONeal says:

December 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Maybe some games on WCIU/26?

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