It’s official. My Tribune colleague Robert Channick reports:
In a move that shakes up the local sports TV landscape, the Chicago Cubs and WLS-Ch.7 confirmed Friday they have struck a deal to broadcast a portion of the team’s schedule through 2019.
Actually, it isn’t that much of a surprise if you are Ch. 7. It gives the station a slice of the Cubs, which could reap big dividends if the team hits it big.
I would expect most of the games will be on the weekends; either Saturday afternoon and night and Sunday afternoon. A Cubs game beats what essentially is filler programming during those times.
It will be interesting to see the reaction if Ch. 7 preempts afternoon soap operas for a Cubs game. Also, it is difficult to think ABC would be pleased losing the Chicago market for its primetime shows.
Meanwhile, this does not mean the end of WGN’s relationship with the Cubs. I still expect the station to land around 45 games when all is said and done.