via Chicago Tribune [Mark Gonzales]
For what seems like forever, the Cubs have played on WGN-9, a staple of Chicago sports. That changed a few years ago, with the addition of ABC-7 and Comcast Sports Network. Now, the team has focused their efforts to launching their own media network when their current network agreements end after the 2019 season. At Cubs Con, President of Business Operations Crane Kenny said “I’d say at the moment we’re 80 percent inclined to do it on our own” when asked about the network possibility.
This isn’t a new idea in Major League Baseball, but it isn’t common. The most notable example of this club owned media network is the YES Network, owned and operated by the New York Yankees, known as the benchmark for economic stability in the MLB. A deal like this would potentially finance the club’s payroll by itself.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m sure it is a financially smart move to do when you have the fan base and national allure that the Cubs have acquired during their franchise rebirth during the Epstein era. I’ll miss WGN like any other Cubs fan. It’s synonymous with Cubs history, with memories of Harry Caray coming to mind instantaneously.
I’m assuming this channel will be included in a normal Chicago cable package by the way, but I don’t want to jinx it or assume the best. If I have to pay an extra HBO-like fee for Cubs baseball I’ve taken for granted for years, I won’t be so undecided on my stance anymore.