Safe travels today, if you’re headed anywhere in advance of the holiday. And if you are traveling, what better way to pass your time than with an epic new episode of the BN Podcast?
- As we think about/dream on the Chicago Cubs’ next big television contract, particularly the one after 2019 which could come in tandem with a Cubs-owned network, it’s worth following the CSN Houston bankruptcy fight, which is getting ugly. The short version: the Astros own a large portion of the regional sports network, together with the Rockets and CSN. The network was supposed to pay the Astros $80 million per year for their games rights, but it hasn’t had enough money to meet those obligations (indeed, I believe the Astros have had to inject further money to keep the network afloat over the past year or so). The lack of money comes, primarily, from local cable and satellite systems’ refusal to pay the huge carriage fees charged by the network (which, in turn, sustains the huge money the network is supposed to be paying out to the Astros). All of this has led to a bankruptcy and an ugly fight, and money being lost by just about everyone involved.. For a longer, awesome-r version, here’s Wendy Thurm’s take.
- Does this have direct relevance to the Cubs? Eh, at least indirect. The markets are different and the fandoms are different, but the concept is the same: how much longer can regional sports networks get away with charging huge carriage fees that are big enough to support massive TV contracts, but not so big that cable providers aren’t willing to pay them (by passing them on to every subscriber)? Something that would help the Cubs greatly (aside from the bubble not bursting, which is largely out of their control)? Play very, very good baseball from 2015 to 2019, and get those ratings through the roof.
- The CCO chats with MLB.com’s prospect guy Jim Callis (formerly of BA), and there are a ton of interesting bits. Give it a read. Among Callis’ thoughts, he believes Javier Baez could be a Gold Glove caliber third baseman, he hears from scouts that are dubious Mike Olt can start 2014 on the big league roster, and he likes the college pitching the Cubs took in the 2013 draft, with special mention of Tyler Skulina (4th round) and Trey Masek (5th round).
- It sounds like Chris Bosio is a big Kyle Hendricks fan.
- In early calculations, it’s looking like the free agent price of a win (as in, 1 WAR) is about $6 million this year. Inflation!
- A ton of former Cubs are on the Hall of Fame ballot released yesterday, and MLB.com wrote up pretty much all of them (you can see the articles mixed in here). Speaking of which, Deadspin bought a Hall of Fame vote.
- The Iowa Cubs are looking for a new mascot – which is to say they’re looking for folks to don the Cubbie Bear costume for games next year. You could earn $40 per game for shaking your artificially-inflated rump. Hell, I still do it for free!
- Don’t forget to check out BN’er Chris’s book on the last 105 years of the Cubs, and his special offer for BN’ers.