Cubs news: Moreland departs as analyst: Why team exercised contract option with WGN-Ch. 9

Keith Moreland isn’t returning to the Cubs radio booth. In a note to WGN-AM 720, he said, “After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”

Hard to blame him, considering the Cubs averaged 96 defeats per year during his three seasons in the booth.

However, even though the Cubs are in the dumps, there will be plenty of suitors to be their next radio analyst. It’ll be interesting to see if they go with a former Cub as they did with Moreland or with someone who doesn’t have ties to the team.

Prior to the Cubs deciding on Moreland to replace Ron Santo, who died after the 2010 season, the speculation list included Doug Glanville, Eric Karros, Todd Hollinsworth, Gary Matthews and Mitch Williams. All had a Cubs connection.

Former Cub favorite Mark Grace also was on the list back then. However, his personal issues now make him an unlikely candidate.

If I were to bet, I think the Cubs will make a run at Glanville. The former Cub does a good job at ESPN.

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Earlier today, the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick reported the Cubs exercised their option to end their deal with WGN-Ch. 9 after 2014.

Channick wrote:

The Chicago Cubs have exercised an option to get out of their broadcast contract with WGN-TV after the 2014 season, sources close to the situation said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the team notified the Tribune Co.-owned station it had 30 days to meet a higher assessed fair market value for the broadcast rights, or they would be opened up for negotiation with other media. A third-party consultant hired by the Cubs and WGN-TV determined  the increased valuation, according to sources.

After 30 days, the team would be 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 move wasn’t surprise and doesn’t mean the Cubs are ending their association with WGN. Channick writes:

The Cubs get about $20 million to air 70 games each year on WGN. If the team didn’t give notice to opt out at this point in the contract, the deal would run through 2022 at the current rate, and the Cubs would lose any leverage for renegotiating the broadcast rights, according to sources.

In July, I wrote that the Cubs are looking to cash in on the big money that is being spent elsewhere for local TV rights. However, unlike the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will receive a big haul, the Cubs options could be limited.

 

5 thoughts on “Cubs news: Moreland departs as analyst: Why team exercised contract option with WGN-Ch. 9

  1. With the Cubs about as interesting as watching paint dry, the radio broadcast needs a personality more that a pure baseball guy. Pat is excellent at play by play, but not exactly the guy at the party with the lampshade on his head. For all of Ronnies faults, there was a chemistry there that compelled one to listen.

    • I wouldn’t call it chemistry with Santo. It was more like a driver going past an accident that couldn’t help but glance at it because it was so horrifiying.

  2. The Cubs situation is exactly the same as the White Sox back in 1967 when they left WGN for the new WFLD-TV. It was a major mistake for the Sox.

    In the past 45 years the Chicago market really has changed much TV wise. Unlike New York and Los Angeles there simply isn’t a large number of independent stations that would be alternatives for them. Think about it, the ‘network’ stations aren’t going to bump prime time programming to show games in April, May or September. PBS is out for obvious reasons. That doesn’t leave many alternatives does it?

    I understand the Cubs trying to maximize revenue but if they think they are going to get the money the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers and Angels have gotten from regional cable networks they are delusional. The Chicago market simply woin’t allow it and they have to share that market with the White Sox…unlike in Boston or Dallas.

    Ultimately you are going to hear more and more about the Cubs trying to start their own network like YES. The issue with that of course is unless you have another team or teams to partner with you, programming is hard to find. 24/7 coverage is very difficult, especially for a franchise that has had difficulty winning anything.

    And I’ve also been told that the White Sox are “already in” the situation with WGN-TV and are watching it closely. It might happen, slight chance, that if the Cubs do leave, WGN and the Sox will come to an agreement to move maybe 10-15 more games off Comcast Sports Chicago to them. I say slight chance because Jerry Reinsdorf is just as much of a bottom line guy as the Cubs, he knows that you get more money per game off regional sports netowrks.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

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