A major-market broadcast partnership that has been in place for 65 years may soon be a thing of the past. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Cubs may exit their broadcast contract with WGN-TV after the 2014 season.
The team has notified the Tribune-owned station that it has 30 days to agree to higher fees for the 2015 season or negotiations would open with other media outlets, the story reports.
"The move not only sets a higher price for the broadcast rights, but shortens the duration of the agreement to 2019, lopping three years off the existing agreement," the story reports. "If Tribune Co. doesn’t step up to the plate within 30 days, the team is free to explore other broadcast options for about 70 games televised each season by WGN, opening the door to a potentially more lucrative contract, or perhaps its own cable sports network."
The broadcast partnership between WGN and the Cubs stems back to 1948, the piece notes. The team now gets about $20 million to air 70 games each year.
But with rights fees for sports deals rising sharply, the team could possibly find a more profitable deal elsewhere, the piece notes.