The rumors have become reality as Cumulus News/Talk 890 WLS Chicago has nabbed the radio rights to not only the Chicago White Sox, but also the co-owned Chicago Bulls.
WLS will begin airing White Sox games in the 2016 season and the Bulls in the 2016-2017 season. Both deals will run through 2021 and include all games and weekly specialty shows. The White Sox are currently heard on CBS Sports “670 The Score” WSCR, while the Bulls will have one more year at ESPN Radio’s “ESPN 1000” WMVP.
Cumulus Media, Inc., the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox jointly announced today that WLS AM 890 has been named the teams’ new flagship radio station in a multiyear agreement. White Sox games will air on WLS AM 890 beginning in 2016, while Bulls games will move to the station beginning with the 2016-17 NBA season.
The agreement, which runs through 2021 with both teams, includes all Bulls preseason, regular and postseason games and all White Sox regular and postseason games, select spring training and exhibition games, as well as weekly original programming.
“Our new partnership with Cumulus Media and WLS AM 890 will provide the Bulls and White Sox with an extensive radio platform to reach our fans,” said Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls President and COO. “This relationship combines our shared interest in innovation and our shared commitment to bringing our fans the highest quality game broadcasts and other team radio programming.”
“Cumulus Media and WLS AM 890 are honored to become the radio home of the Bulls and White Sox, two of Chicago’s very best sports brands,” said Peter Bowen, Vice President and Market Manager of Cumulus Media’s Chicago operations. “Adding both teams to our programming schedule allows us to continue to capitalize on the strong growth and success Cumulus is enjoying in the Chicago market. We cannot wait to bring year-round sports to some of the world’s greatest fans.”
In addition to WLS AM 890, Chicago stations in the Cumulus family include WLS FM 94.7, WLUP FM 97.9 and WKQX FM 101.1.
“We are excited to partner with Cumulus Media and WLS AM 890 to broadcast White Sox baseball to our fans across Chicago and throughout the Midwest,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We look forward to joining the Bulls and Notre Dame football and basketball to bring the passion and interest in Chicago-area sports to WLS AM 890 and its listeners.”
In addition to live game broadcasts, spring training, preseason and exhibition broadcasts, the agreement includes pre- and postgame programming and a weekly year-round show for each team that features highlights, a preview of the week ahead, as well as interviews with players, coaches and the White Sox and Bulls front office.
Feder reports that a six year contract is set to be finalized this week between Cumulus and the White Sox to move their broadcasts from CBS Sports “670 The Score” WSCR after WLS beat out WSCR and Tribune’s 720 WGN for the rights. The White Sox have been heard on WSCR since 2006. By signing a six-year deal the White Sox will align the termination of their rights deal with the crosstown Cubs as both franchises contracts will next expire after the 2021 season.
A clause in the Cubs contract with CBS Radio that began this season could move their broadcasts from News 780 WBBM to WSCR next year. CBS holds an option to transfer the Cubs over to “The Score” for the 2016 season were they to lose the White Sox.
WLS can use something to draw attention to their programming as the station has hovered in the low 1 shares in recent months as it has brought on well-known market names Big John Howell, Jonathan Brandmeier, and Steve Dahl to turn its hopes around. Dahl, of course is known for putting together the infamous Disco Demoliton Night at the White Sox’ Comiskey Park in 1979.