Update 6/5: The Chicago Cubs and CBS Radio have made their deal official.
The multi-year deal with CBS will see the games broadcast on 780 WBBM with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer remaining as announcers. The deal also includes promotional initiatives through CBS’ seven stations in the Chicago market and their digital and social platforms. The team and CBS will create and produce live music events at Wrigley Field.
CBS will also air a weekly Cubs Corner program on one of its stations.
INSTANT INSIGHT: CBS notes that WBBM will be the Cubs flagship and not simulcaster 105.9 WCFS. At the press conference CBS notes that the News programming will remain on the FM during games.
CBS RADIO and the Chicago Cubs announced today that WBBM Newsradio 780AM has been named as the team’s new flagship radio station beginning with the 2015 season. Chicago’s all-news station will broadcast regular and postseason games, and select pre-season contests with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer calling all game day action.
The broadcast rights agreement is part of a multi-year sports and entertainment partnership that also includes several promotional initiatives across all seven of CBS RADIO’s local Chicago stations and the Company’s digital and social platforms. Additionally, the two parties will work jointly to create and produce live music events to be hosted at Wrigley Field.
“CBS RADIO is a recognized leader in producing and promoting sports, live event and music broadcasts in local markets across the country,” said Crane Kenney, President of Business Operations, Chicago Cubs. “We are excited to partner with CBS RADIO to broadcast Cubs baseball and develop unique activities and events that will entertain the millions of Cubs fans and visitors who come to Wrigley Field each year.”
“CBS RADIO is honored to serve as the broadcast home of the Chicago Cubs,” said Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS RADIO. “This storied franchise is among the most well-known clubs in all of sports and we’re pleased to establish this relationship with a team that has such a loyal fan base in Chicago and across this country.
“This partnership also capitalizes on the expertise of our local stations to create one-of-a-kind events utilizing the inherent synergies of music and sports. Being able to interact with fans both in and out of the ballpark provides us a unique opportunity to connect with the community and grow our relationships with local businesses and national brands.”
Added Rod Zimmerman, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS RADIO Chicago, “This is truly an historic day in Chicago radio. It is a rare opportunity that broadcast rights to such exclusive content like the Chicago Cubs become available. We are all beyond excited to move forward with this partnership that will bring Cubs baseball to a new level of engagement with fans throughout Chicago and the nation.”
Among additional Cubs programming will be “Cubs Corner,” a one-hour weekly show broadcast during the season featuring game highlights and a preview of upcoming matchups, as well as interviews with players, coaches and Cubs management. The show will air at select times throughout the remainder of the year.
Original Report 6/4: A broadcast partnership dating back to 1925 will come to an end this October.
The Chicago Cubs have set a press conference for Thursday morning to announce they will move their radio broadcasts in 2015 to CBS News simulcast 780 WBBM/105.9 WCFS.
WGN exercised an opt-out in their contract last year following declining ratings and loss of revenue while the Cubs have been mired in a long-term rebuilding. The Chicago Tribune reports that WGN was paying $10 per year for the Cubs broadcasts and refused to match CBS’ offer. Tribune Company owned both WGN and The Cubs from 1981 until 2008.
The Cubs will join the NFL’s Chicago Bears on 780 WBBM and 105.9 WCFS.