Chicago Cubs: Team looks to launch their own cable network in 2020


Cubs hope to launch their own network in 2020

In the category of “not breaking news”, the Chicago Cubs have announced they plan to form their own cable network in 2020, something that seemed to be in the works since the Cubs had stepped away from WGN. The contracts with WGN and WLS will expire in 2019, and even an ownership stake in Comcast doesn’t appear to be enough from stopping the team from forming its own network.

Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney broke the news while doing a promotional appearance on the 670 The Score during the “Mully & Hanley” show.

"“2019 is our last year with Comcast, so we’ll move over and launch our own channel in 2020.”"

The biggest reason is revenue. While the Cubs wait to reap the full benefit from the Wrigley Field upgrades, a dedicated network could help to drive up the revenue to inject into the Cubs payroll. The other half is not having to share with other Chicago teams. Between sharing time with the White Sox, and conflicts with the Blackhawks during the playoffs–the Cubs are ready to be on their own.

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The Cubs will look to the experiences of the Dodgers in their launching of their own network–SportsNet LA–may have the team a little wary of doing it themselves. The Dodgers and the channel they launched with Time Warner Cable has had its share of issues, including not being available to all LA residents. That’s already plagued the Cubs with their current television deals, so that would not go over well for many who used to see every game on WGN.

One other concern would be what content to have during the offseason. If the Cubs go out on their own, they’ll have to find a way to provide content during the winter months. That in itself could be an issue if there are no other sports to pull coverage from during the slow season of baseball.

The Epstein was slow to talk much about it, but Kenney didn’t hesitate to promote his experience in the field. “We’re very excited about it. Fortunately for me, that’s what I grew up doing. My career started in law and media, and we put together first Fox Sports Chicago and then Comcast SportsNet.