For as long as Cubs fans can remember, the team has had WGN as their home for television, and radio. The relationship with WGN started way back in 1925 and the Cubbies have had the station broadcasting games to avid fans on the radio for the past 55 seasons. Will this long lasting bond between the two sides be broken?
According to the Chicago Tribune`s Ed Sherman, it could become a reality very soon:
WBBM-AM 780 has emerged as the leading candidate to become the new radio home of the Cubs.
The CBS-owned outlet is using all of its local stations in a synergistic bid to land the rights to the Cubs, beginning with the 2015 season, according to team and industry sources. If the team goes with WBBM, it would end it`s long relationship with WGM-AM 720, which dates back to 1925.
Ed Sherman says that the Cubbies would not officially comment on the situation, but his team source informed him that they believe there is a very good market for Cubs rights. He includes what most Cubs fans already know, which is that the ratings and advertising dollars are down due to the lackluster play of the team these past few years, and that the WGN radio deal has been losing cash for a couple years now.
This WBBM opportunity could present a nice flow of cash if it gets done, with Sherman reporting it could be worth $10 million dollars per season. Not to mention that CBS, owners the WBBM station, is very powerful, owning many other stations. This could increase the possibilities of higher marketing and advertising.
If this does not work out, the Cubs do have another option. The Chicago Tribune company has started a new FM station called “The Game” . This WGWG-FM 87.7 station could give the Cubs another possibility if they cannot reach an agreement with WGN or this reported front runner, WBBM. The Tribune will have new flexibility come late 2015, giving the Cubs the option of “The Game” for a powerful FM station.
While it would undoubtedly be sad to Cubs fans who grew up on WGN radio and television to see the station lose the Cubs, a potentially huge TV deal, or a profitable radio gig definitely will help the Cubs get back to the financial powerhouse they used to be in the NL Central.