As expected, the Cubs officially announced WSCR-AM 670 as their new radio outlet for 2016 yesterday.
However, during an appearance on the station, Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ president of business operations, dropped a bombshell. He said the Cubs will launch their own TV network in 2020.
“2019 is our last year with Comcast, so we’ll move over and launch our own channel in 2020,” Kenney said on the “Mully & Hanley” morning show.
Now there had been plenty of speculation that the Cubs would go this route after their deal with Comcast SportsNet expires in 2019. But this marked the first time that the Cubs said definitely that they will air their own games.
At the GM meetings, Theo Epstein even hinted at the possibility that the Cubs could launch sooner than 2020. It likely would mean them getting out of their CSN deal early, which would require the exchange of a lot of money.
The Cubs have the brand to pull off their own network. Their timing couldn’t be better with the team poised to have a long run of success.
However, the media landscape is changing by the day and things could be much different by the time they flip the switch in 2020. As the Dodgers situation in LA has showed, a one-team TV network hardly is a sure thing.