CHICAGO -- The Cubs first appeared on WGN-TV on April 16, 1948, and the team and the TV station have been partners since. But that may end after next season.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have exercised an option to exit their broadcast contract with WGN-TV following the 2014 campaign.
The Cubs reportedly notified WGN-TV that it had 30 days to meet a higher assessed fair market value for the broadcast rights or the team would open negotiations with other media. WGN-TV currently televises about 70 Cubs games.
A new broadcast deal would definitely help the team in its search for other revenue sources. In January, the Dodgers reached a deal with Time Warner Cable to establish their own cable sports network, which will pay the team a reported $7 billion to broadcast games over 25 years.
Per the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs receive about $20 million in annual broadcast rights fees from WGN-TV. The Cubs games are split between WGN-TV and Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The deal with Comcast SportsNet Chicago runs through 2019 and includes the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks as partners.
If the Cubs do not establish a new deal with WGN-TV, they could create their own cable sports network.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.