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kid-watching-tvAlthough they’re not likely to match the high water mark of the era set by the Los Angeles Dodgers – 25 years and $8.5 billion, or an average of $340 million per season ($2.1 million per game) – the Philadelphia Phillies have finally inked their big money television contract.

“We’re pleased to confirm that NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet have signed a new long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that will expand Comcast SportsNet’s role as the Phillies’ primary TV partner,” Comcast SportsNet’s Senior Director of Communications Maureen Quilter said in a statement (Philly.com). “Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months.”

The Courier Times reports that the deal will be in the 20 to 25-year range, for a “massive” amount of money. As I said, it’s not going to match the Dodgers’ deal, but, once you get past the $1 million per game range, you’ve got plenty of money to push the luxury tax cap every year if you want. The deal is set to extend the Phillies’ current deal (which pays them just $35 million per season or so), which was going to expire in 2015. If the Phillies are to continue spending huge money on the worst free agents/extensions, they will need this deal.

This is where you are reminded of the Cubs’ current TV deal situation:

  • The rights to approximately 70 games are contracted to WGN through the 2014 season.
  • The rights to the remaining games are contracted to CSN (part-owned by the Ricketts Family) through the 2019 season.
  • The Cubs are rumored to receive about $300,000 per game for the WGN games. (I say “rumored,” because the Cubs have never publicly confirmed their TV dollars.)
  • The Cubs are rumored to receive about $500,000 per game for the CSN games.
  • In total, the Cubs are rumored to receive about $65 million per year for their TV broadcast rights through 2014. After the 2014 season, the Cubs will presumably receive a bump in the rights fees for the 70 games currently contracted to WGN, but don’t expect a suitor to shell out millions of dollars per game for just 70 games (many of which are during the day) and for just five years (the Cubs will want the full slate of games to be available after 2019, when the CSN deal runs out).
  • Best case scenario? The Cubs strike a good deal for that five-year bridge period on the 70 WGN games ($800,000 to $1 million per game?), and find a way to negotiate a long-term, market deal on the full slate of games at some point prior to 2019 (a buyout, a shared network agreement, extension with CSN, new network formed, etc.). It’s hard to imagine the TV bubble continuing to expand for another five years. But, hey, I guess you never know.
  • ShootTheGoat

    Couldn’t CSN (if they want the cubs) just renegotiate a 20-25 year new contract after the 2014 (WGN contract is up) season to replace the deal they already have in place now through 2019?

    • Kyle

      Could they? Probably. But I don’t think they’d want to.

      • Noah_I

        Yeah, CSN has a sweet deal for 5 seasons after 2014, and there’s no reason they’d give that up, especially considering that the Cubs’ likely only options for the 20-25 year deal after 2019 will be CSN or starting their own network.

        • Pat

          Yeah, I don’t see Reisndorf (40%), Wirtz (20%), or the CSN CEO (20%) tearing up a deal to resign for 2 to 3 times the cost. Plus, I’m pretty sure I read that taking on the full schedule would cause problems for them in that more games would have to shifted to CSN+ or WCIU, where they have difficulty covering the current cost of $500,000 per game.

          • ShootTheGoat

            Thanks…

          • Serious Cubs Fan

            The only way reinsdorf agrees to give the cubs a new tv deal is if it’s a cupcake reduced annual long-term contract. Which the cubs will not agree too

          • Hee Seop Chode

            Just playing Devil’s Advocate here, but what if ownership believes TV deals will continue to increase in value? What if ownership knows games are worth $1.5MM in the Chicagoland market? There are a lot of unknown variables, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the two sides are working on a comprehensive deal now.

          • BenRoethig

            Considering that the cubs are basically subsidizing Sox coverage right now, playing ball with them might be a good idea. Let’s say the Cubs make a 5 year local deal with Fox to move the 70 games to WFLD with the intention of a cable Network in 2013? Let’s also say that Wirtz does the same with his WGN Blackhawks games after the 2013 to get out from under the Bulls’ shadow. Where does that leave Reinsdorf in 2019 especially considering the Bulls/Sox WGN contracts would also be up? Would Comcast /NBC Sports even want to continue considering how bad the Sox viewership is and the fiasco down in Houston?

            It would make a lot of sense to me to launch a second channel (which they’d probably need anyway) and give the Cubs a similar deal to what they Phillies got. 25 year deal on the 70 former WGN games at $850k a game (inbetween the Philly and the Angels) with an extension to the current CSN contract at the same rate starting in 2020. $100 million a year in TV contracts starting in 2015 , $140 million in 2019.

  • tpstoner

    What would the options be for the WGN games in 2015? I’m downstate and worried they would be picked up by a local over-the-air station that I would not be able to pick up. Then mlb.tv would still black out the games…

    I thought I saw where the Cubs could not negotiate with another cable channel until 2019. (FOX 1, FSN, BET out?).

    Then I hope we can see CUBSTV on all platforms. Maybe by then we’ll have some archived games worth watching in the offseason too!

  • Fastball

    The Ricketts have to push the networks to buyout the existing WGN and Comcast contracts. I estimate that both of these could be bought out for about 85% of what’s remaining in contract dollars. Probably could negotiate a better deal than that with a lot of up front cash in the deal. It’s still a lucrative and very good positive cash flow for the acquiring network. The big boys will absorb that cost and have it turning positive revenue for them in 6 months time.
    I don’t see any way that Ricketts cannot sit and wait another year and lose all that money. The Cubs are a $1.7MM per game TV team. Ricketts is losing more than $800M per game. He can’t wait to get WGN out of the picture. Somebody writes them a check and they are gone IMO. The Comcast piece is much the same. He can’t afford to continue like he is. First he is too smart a businessman to sit by and wait. I think there are too many people who have this loyalty to WGN because they broadcast games for free forever. That business model does not work any longer. Even if Ricketts had some emotional attachment to WGN his board wouldn’t allow him to continue doing business this way.

    • hansman

      In your scenario the math gets pretty crunched pretty quick.

      If the contract gets bought out (and no way is a cable network going to let you buy-out a lucrative deal for less than face value) for 85% that is $425K a game which reduces your payout the next 5 years.

      Best case scenario is to get CSN to buy the rights to all of the games, giving them a bit of a break now for $2M per after 2019. If you think the bubble is going to burst soon.

      If you think the bubble isn’t going to burst before 2019, you take what you can get and get a $3M a game deal then.

  • JB88

    “Best case scenario? The Cubs strike a good deal for that five-year bridge period on the 70 WGN games ($800,000 to $1 million per game?), and find a way to negotiate a long-term, market deal on the full slate of games at some point prior to 2019 (a buyout, a shared network agreement, extension with CSN, new network formed, etc.).”

    I disagree with this statement. I actually DON’T think that is the best case scenario. Rather, the best case scenario would be Comcast tearing up the 2014-2019 contract to get the right to all the Cubs games now and paying the Cubs a $1M+ per game fee for those games rights. Because if the TV bubble bursts, it won’t matter what happens in 2019. Not to mention that the start-up costs of the Cubs forming their own network could/would be staggering in 2019 and the idea of convincing local cable stations (primarily Comcast) to carry the Cubs in any tier would be difficult to negotiate (I’d imagine).

    Truly, I think the best outcome is for a new longterm deal with Comcast that starts the influx of funds NOW, not 6 years from now.

    • bbmoney

      Sure. But I don’t know why Comcast would tear up a deal where they are rumored to be paying about 500k a game and start paying 1m+ per game. Maybe you can get comcast to pick up the rest of the games for 1M per game, but I don’t know why they’d pay more for the games they’ve already got under contract.

      Maybe if it’s the only way the cubs would agree to extend them beyond 2019, but I’m not sure the Cubs have that kind of leverage.

      Let’s hope.

      • JB88

        That’s precisely what I see happening (i.e., Comcast tearing up the remainder of the deal to get its hands on all games). It is also the reason that I think Epstein was so bullish in his TV interview a few weeks back.

        • bbmoney

          I guess I’m trying to say they could just sign the rest of the games without tearing up the deal it has for the other games. Not sure I like Cubs chances to convince them to do otherwise, or at least not at an increased rate for the next 5 years. I don’t see how the Cubs have any leverage to force that.

          But there are a lot of unknowns about exactly who’s interested, etc. So I’ll continue to hope you’re right.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re not wrong – I suppose I just meant that the best outcome in a world where a bridge deal on the WGN games is the only option (still waiting on serious whispers of CSN’s willingness to re-up right now).

      If CSN took on the whole slate starting in 2015, they are going to want a discount on the whole life if the agreement to bump up the rate on the games from 2015 through 2019 – the Cubs would be trading tomorrow’s enormous dollars for today’s merely very big dollars. That might be a good trade-off, all things considered, but these are obviously extremely complicated negotiations. Probably happening as we speak.

  • Caleb

    What do you mean, *If* the bubble doesn’t keep growing for 5 more years?? Bubbles don’t burst. Duh.

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://chickrx.com/images/articles/45ECD751-891E-44BA-B5C7-A0E9F481728C.png[/img]

      D’Oh!

  • potvin48

    Hey Brett, it’s 2.1 million per game, not 2.01 million…
    Sorry, I’m a math geek and it bothered me :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Whoopsie-doodle.

  • Kyle

    I’m assuming the Phillies’ deal is heavily backloaded.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The Astros and Padres deals were, if I remember correctly. Not sure about Dodgers deal, which is probably a closer comparison.

      • mbeemsterboer

        So maybe Cubs can get CSN to buy the remaining 70 games at a rate higher than current, maybe $750k, for the next 5 seasons and get them to commit to $1M for the full slate for after the current deal dies in 2019? Kind of backloads it, doesn’t force them to rip up a good deal now, but Cubs see a good bump in the revenue now, and even more in 2019.

        I have trouble seeing any situation where CSN isn’t the best suitor for the WGN games though. Other than WGN ponying up and committing to their 70 and a deal beyond 2019. Which begs the question of if a deal like that is possible? Station takes 70 now, guarantees full slate in 2019?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The other prime suitor – if there is one – would be a network like Fox, which has the ability to broadcast the 70 WGN games over-the-air during the five-year bridge period, before trying to buy the full slate (and probably trying to start an RSN in 2020). Getting the 70 games now would be a nice foot in the door.

          • JB88

            And this is why I think you see Comcast buy the entire slate now. Fox is very aggressive in its bids to get into the broadcast markets (remember, Fox partnered with the Big Ten to start the BTN).

            This is the primary reason that I think you see a global deal with Comcast. It is too much risk to Comcast to lose a team like the Cubs to a giant competitor, especially one with a national audience like Fox.

          • Pat

            But would Fox (the Chicago affiliate, not the sports channel) want the Cubs games? Just like WGN they have the option of showing network programming essentially for free, as they will have to pay the affiliate fee regardless. And unlike WGN’s CW, Fox actually pulls some decent numbers for their programming.

            When you’re running series of shows, the last thing you want to do is to sporadically interrupt them. That just sends people who are interested in programming rather than sports to a show on another network, which they just might develop an interest in. And the promo value of running ads for your shows the sports crowd might not otherwise be exposed to is pretty much already covered by Fox carrying football and baseball nationally in the first place.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Totally agree. Like WGN (if they did this long-term), they’d have to have a channel to offload some of the games off onto – and they’d only do all of these things if they really, really wanted the long-term deal/full slate/RSN down the road. Which they might.

              • JB88

                I’d imagine they do. Based on the sports programming Fox has either introduced or partnered with others to introduce, the Cubs could be pitching a BTN-level partnership with Fox using the 70 games as a launching point.

                Or, I know if I was negotiating on behalf of the Cubs, that is the way I’d be positioning a sale to Fox.

              • Pat

                It’s certainly possible. While they all understand it’s just business, it would be really interesting to be in the CSN Chicago board meetings if it gets down to a negotiation between Comcast and Fox. I’d think Ricketts would almost have to recuse himself from the Comcast side of the negotiations.

              • YourResidentJag

                Does the White Sox agreement end at the same time the Cubs does on WGN?

  • http://bleachernation 29bigcat

    Only complicated because one or both wont compromise

  • Blackhawks1963

    Nothing is easy for the Cubs. Can’t get the Wrigley renovation project off the ground, have to wait years until a new TV contract can be secured, etc. Part of the problem is that I don’t think Tom Ricketts has the sort of steel balls necessary to make big things happen. His milquetoast personality is probably emblematic of his business strategy and management style. Which is a problem. Maybe time for the Ricketts to annoint another family member to run the club?!? Being serious here. The Bears’ Virginia McCaskey finally had to push her son Michael to the side and insert a new leadership team headed by son George.

    • Scotti

      You obviously haven’t followed the career of Tom Ricketts. It took “steel balls” to literally invent a new type of bond business, invest the family fortune in the Cubs (where the family is expecting a major ROI), force Zell to take $50 million off the original $900 million after Zell signed the very Trib friendly WGN contracts that we’re discussing now and forced Mesa to come up with $100 million or he was moving spring training to Daytona. None of that comes across as milquetoast.

      • YourResidentJag

        Well, he should be revitalizing dugouts and clubhouses then this offseason. And force a company to part of the naming rights to Wrigley Field…such as Wrigley Field at Discover Square for example.

        • Scotti

          He can sell the naming rights whenever he wants to. Doing it when the team has put together it’s worst two-year stretch in its l o n g history would be silly. Wait until the team is decent again and the return would be double. On top of that, wait until the renovation is complete (or near complete) and the rights double in value again. Crappy team, stadium literally falling apart? Yeah, they’re lined up to pay big bucks over 20 years for THAT!

          Re. beginning construction: beginning ANY construction on Wrigley before every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed is a complete FAIL in negotiations 101. As soon as the team puts money into the rebuild they are 100% committed to it and lose ALL negotiating power.

          Everyone knows this and that is why EACH of the Mayor’s office, Tunney and the rooftops have PUBLICLY pressed the Cubs to start work. As soon as the Cubs start, the negotiations are done.

          • YourResidentJag

            Boy, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The rooftop owners aren’t going anywhere and neither apparently is Ricketts. He wants to stay and they have a legal agreement. The dugouts and clubhouses need lots of work. As for revenue, a 20 yr contract? Wow. Lengthy and silly.

            A lesser contract would do just fine. There still is a mystique about Wrigley that some Fortune 500 company would buy the naming rights.

            You’ve also kind of backed yourself into a double edge sword here. First, you seem to have said all along on here that you’re in favor of the rebuild. If the Cubs can’t sell naming rights based on your theory, sounds to like you really can’t say you’re fully behind any rebuild. An inferior product with a broken down stadium. Your words not mine.

            So, I suppose you expect the Ricketts to wait it out until 2020. That’s funny…no it’s downright silly.

            • Scotti

              “Boy, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The rooftop owners aren’t going anywhere and neither apparently is Ricketts. He wants to stay and they have a legal agreement. The dugouts and clubhouses need lots of work.”

              Actually, the rooftop owners are, generally speaking, interested in profit. If they are offered a good deal, they’re gone. I used to play ball with one of the guys who owns two of them–it’s a business (he loves the Cubs and has never said a dirty word about them but it’s a business). Regardless, Ricketts doesn’t need them gone. He just needs their signatures.

              As for the Ricketts, you said the operative word–“apparently.” As long as there is a smidgen of doubt, he has leverage. The Mayor’s press guy poo-pooed the offer from Rosemont (not a real contender) but, as soon as it was made, the Mayor pee’d his slacks and started leaning on Tunney–heavy. Stuff got done. Without that leverage it doesn’t get done. Period. Tom Ricketts knows this. He likes Wrigley. Wants to make it work. He’s engaged to it, if you will. But he won’t say “I do” until the prenuptials are signed by the rooftops.

              “As for revenue, a 20 yr contract? Wow. Lengthy and silly. A lesser contract would do just fine. There still is a mystique about Wrigley that some Fortune 500 company would buy the naming rights.”

              Silly would be branding Wrigley Field for a short term (five years?) with one name only to be re-branding it again shortly thereafter. That would be silly for the company BUYING the rights as they would hardly get any bang for their buck before the name changes again (i.e. the Sears Tower was re-branded Willis Tower four and a half years ago and it’s still called Sears Tower). That’s why companies that BUY branding rights do it over the long term (20 years is actually the industry standard–look it up–not “lengthy and silly”).

              The reason that companies SELL those branding brights over the long term is because the branding rights for a property lose value if the name keeps changing. Who would pay top dollar to re-brand Sears/Willis right now? No one. A lessor contract would be dumb for both parties. A longer contract would be dumb for the Cubs.

              “You’ve also kind of backed yourself into a double edge sword here. First, you seem to have said all along on here that you’re in favor of the rebuild. If the Cubs can’t sell naming rights based on your theory, sounds to like you really can’t say you’re fully behind any rebuild. An inferior product with a broken down stadium. Your words not mine.”

              Uh, say what? The re-build isn’t waiting on naming rights. The re-build is waiting on the rooftops collectively realizing that 2-3 rooftops being marginally blocked (and I mean marginally) doesn’t come anywhere near the financial damage that the sucky product on the field HAS caused them (folks not buying, folks canceling) and that their blocking the video board and see-through ad getting put up is directly causing that poor performance on the field. They also do themselves a great disservice by being perceived as anti-Cub while trying to sell a Cub product.

              “So, I suppose you expect the Ricketts to wait it out until 2020. That’s funny…no it’s downright silly.”

              What IS silly is you implying that temporary naming rights for dilapidated Wrigley could pay for the re-build (or even that the rebuild is dependent on naming rights). Right now Wrigley–in it’s current state–couldn’t come anywhere near commanding the record price that MetLife Stadium brought ($17-20M for 25 years) and even THAT would fall short of the total re-build. Regardless, selling that asset short would be shortsighted.

              What IS silly is you suggesting that Ricketts should give up the ONLY leverage that he has. Ricketts won’t have to wait until 2020 precisely because he controls what the rooftops, Emanuel (and Tunney because Emanuel is leaning on him) ALL want–construction to begin. Are the rooftops and Emanuel going to wait until 2020? No. The rooftops NEED a competitive club to sell tickets and Rahm NEEDS half a billion dollars of construction spent in his city.

              • YourResidentJag

                Wow, such a long post for things that don’t make sense. Where do I start?

                I guess I’ll start with questions:
                So, if the Cubs in your opinion don’t have an inferior product currently to sell to advertisers what does that say about the rebuild? So, a 8 year deal for naming rights isn’t lengthy (it’s temporary, LOL) until the LEGAL CONTRACT with the rooftop owners expires? So, remodeling the dugouts has exactly what to do with the profits of the rooftop owners? So, the Cubs should move from DILAPIDATED Wrigley Field because now in year 5 of Ricketts ownership nothing is being done to restore Wrigley from its dilapidation? So, the rebuilding effort shouldn’t have naming rights involved in gaining every bit of additional revenue it can and that somehow, in your opinion, makes the the act “anti-Cubs”? When does the stalemate end then with the rooftop owners because I see no end in sight until the legal contract ends in 2020? So, who put the Cubs into the this state of unprofitability (in your opinion) because the last time I checked it wasn’t the Tribune Company?

                Also, I must say for being the cheerleader of anti-political discussion on here you certainly seem to pro Republican and anti-Democrat by the condescending tone you take of the Mayor of Chicago. So, I really don’t want to hear your anti political rants on here anymore. MKay.

                Let’s just say your facts are as much opinions as mine despite the fact that you seem to want to state them as facts.

                • Scotti

                  “Wow, such a long post…”

                  You will notice a good chunk of that long post was your prior post which I quoted in its entirety…

                  “I guess I’ll start with questions:”

                  That’s good, questions lead to more understanding. There’s no such thing as a bad question.

                  “So, if the Cubs in your opinion don’t have an inferior product currently to sell to advertisers what does that say about the rebuild?”

                  That’s a bad question. I’ve never wrote, nor said, that the Cubs “don’t have an inferior product currently to sell to advertisers.” Ever. In fact I’ve been arguing here and elsewhere on the site that the Cubs should not sign a weak long term agreement now because they would be locking in “Cub’s suck” media rates for an entire generation. So, what does that say about the re-build? Nothing since I’ve never written, nor voiced, that opinion.

                  What IS connected to the re-build is the video board in LF and the see-through ad in RF. They will bring in WELL north of $20M per season (the figure that the rooftops offered the Cubs). Also connected are the exclusivity partnerships (i.e. Budweiser–while law prohibits the Cubs from selling one beer exclusively, it does not prohibit them from exclusive ads for beer, pop, whatever, around the park).

                  “So, a 8 year deal for naming rights isn’t lengthy (it’s temporary, LOL) until the LEGAL CONTRACT with the rooftop owners expires?”

                  As I said, short-term naming rights devalue the product that you are selling. In eight years some Chicago residents MAY start calling the Sears Tower the Willis Tower. It’s been nearly five years now and no such luck thus far. Short-term naming rights are worthless. You disagree. The industry doesn’t.

                  I.e. “LEGAL CONTRACT:” Folks with LEGAL CONTRACTs often revisit those LEGAL CONTRACTs. The landmarking of Wrigley is, in fact, a LEGAL CONTRACT. It was revisited. It happens. Also, we have no idea what the verbiage is in that LEGAL CONTRACT. If it contains the verbiage that has been reported (a clause stating that the LEGAL CONTRACT is subject to the City Council and/or Landmark Commission) then the issue isn’t as settled as you try to make it seem.

                  “So, remodeling the dugouts has exactly what to do with the profits of the rooftop owners?”

                  A) The dugouts don’t get remodeled until the rooftops sign-off on the video board and see-through ad. That’s per Tom Ricketts.

                  B) Once the video board and see-through ad go up, the Cubs start making revenue that allow for not only the re-build but also spending on the on field product (payroll).

                  C) Assuming Theo and company spend well, that improves not only the product that the Cubs are selling but also (obviously) the product the rooftops are selling. When you improve your product you improve your ability to sell for higher profits. A, B, C.

                  Additionally, as I stated above, the rooftops run the risk of alienating the very fan base they market to by being THE only remaining impediment to the Cubs/Wrigley improvement.

                  “So, the Cubs should move from DILAPIDATED Wrigley Field because now in year 5 of Ricketts ownership nothing is being done to restore Wrigley from its dilapidation?”

                  Again, a concoction of your own mind. Ricketts has, in four years, gotten a horde of concessions from the Mayor’s office (two mayors), the Landmark Commission, the City Counsel and even Tunney. All this after years of the Trib/Zell letting the all of the above walking all over the interests of the team and treating the Cubs, and thus Cub fans, like second class citizens. The only domino left to fall is the resolution of the current negotiations with the rooftops. You know, those guys with the LEGAL CONTRACT who, according to you, have no reason to negotiate.

                  “So, the rebuilding effort shouldn’t have naming rights involved in gaining every bit of additional revenue it can and that somehow, in your opinion, makes the the act “anti-Cubs”?”

                  R.I.F. Where did I connect naming rights to anti-Cub? The notion of temporary naming rights is stupid, yes. But I never connected it with being anti-Cub. Anti-Cub is the way the rooftops are in danger of being perceived by the very fan base they hope to sell their product to.

                  “When does the stalemate end then with the rooftop owners because I see no end in sight until the legal contract ends in 2020?”

                  It ends when the rooftops realize they are shooting themselves in the foot.

                  “So, who put the Cubs into the this state of unprofitability (in your opinion) because the last time I checked it wasn’t the Tribune Company?”

                  Sam Zell owned the Trib. Sam Zell orchestrated the “Partnership” (non-sale) between the Cubs and the Trib that prohibit the Cubs from using debt to finance payroll (in order for Zell to avoid all taxes on the deal). Last year the IRS notified the Trib that it doesn’t accept the premise that the deal was/is, in fact a partnership but that it believes it was actually a sale (and the Trib owes the IRS over $200 million). The resolution of the IRS/Trib issues would be a godsend to the Cubs but that is likely to be hung up in negotiations for a while.

                  “Also, I must say for being the cheerleader of anti-political discussion on here you certainly seem to pro Republican and anti-Democrat by the condescending tone you take of the Mayor of Chicago. So, I really don’t want to hear your anti political rants on here anymore. MKay.”

                  First–swing and a miss. I’m an Independent and wouldn’t join either party if you paid me. Second, the notion that a Cub fan expressing displeasure with Rahm/Daley/Tunney is a “political rant” is void of credibility. I’ll voice my displeasure as I see fit.

                  “Let’s just say your facts are as much opinions as mine despite the fact that you seem to want to state them as facts.”

                  “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” is variously attributed to two Democrats and one Republican. There are facts and there are opinions. Many facts are unavailable to us regarding internal Cub deliberations, etc. That doesn’t mean that no facts are available to us:

                  The fact is that no Cub has ever publicly linked naming rights to the rebuild.

                  The fact is Ricketts has said it won’t happen: “During an appearance on “Sports Talk Live” on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Ricketts said there is ‘no plan to sell the name of Wrigley Field’ in a naming-rights deal, adding, ‘We think it has real meaning to people.’ ” Does that mean the Cubs won’t sell naming rights WELL down the road or, more likely, sell naming rights to certain areas of the complex (as they are already doing but on a grander scale)? No, but K-Mart isn’t going to be paying for the rights to the K-Mart Triangle Office and Retail Building until the thing is at least assured of getting built. You won’t get naming rights money to build clubhouses before the actual named bits are built.

                  The fact is that Ricketts HAS linked the video board, etc. to, not only the re-build, but even STAYING in Wrigley: “I’m not sure how anyone is going to stop any signs in the outfield but if it comes to the point that we don’t have the ability to do what we need to do in the outfield then we are going to have to consider moving. It is as simple as that.”

                  Facts are facts. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean that they are just someone else’s opinions.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Since I don’t have time to read your novel, I’ll just say this. I disagree. I disagree with the fact that you’re saying a lot of these things because you have. And I disagree that Ricketts couldn’t have looked to corporate sponsorship starting in 2010. He should have and this legal agreement with the rooftops will not end until it actually ends. We’re seeing it year after year, and if Ricketts tries to break it, we’ll see injunction after injunction and lawsuit after lawsuit. Zell made the Cubs unprofitable and it could be argued and has been that the Ricketts have continued it.

                    Just because Ricketts has said some of these things doesn’t mean you have to agree with all of it or the logic behind it . Agree to disagree with you and strongly so.

                    Facts are facts. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean that they are just someone else’s opinions–except when they’re mired with Ricketts opinions and conjecture about what may or may happen with the rooftops and the ballclub. This makes your VERY long-winded statement not tied to facts, but mired in its own opinion-making and conjecture. That’s why I mostly disagree with it.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      *you’re not saying a lot of these things because you have

                    • Scotti

                      “Since I don’t have time to read your novel, I’ll just say this. I disagree.”

                      I couldn’t have framed your position any better. Thanks!

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Huh? And here I thought I did an excellent job framing your position as well.

                    • Scotti

                      “Huh?”

                      You didn’t read my post (your claim) but you still had a position on it.

                      “And here I thought I did an excellent job framing your position as well.”

                      Difficult to do when one hasn’t actually read the other person’s post.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      I didn’t read your original post. Really?

                    • Scotti

                      “Again, you don’t have to agree with him, Scotti.”

                      Do I have to agree with the fact that he–the CEO of the Cubs–has said he won’t sell naming rights to Wrigley? It is simply factual. Can he change his mind? Yes, but realistically no time soon.

                      Can I disagree with his CHOICE? Certainly I could. But it wouldn’t square with what the facts are on the ground in the industry (naming rights are only win-win in long term chunks). Wrigley Field, iconic Wrigley Field, is a testament to that fact (Wrigley is widely believed to be the first naming rights branded ballpark).

                    • Scotti

                      “I didn’t read your original post. Really?”

                      So, you are having a discussion with someone based on what they said yesterday? You keep posting new comments and re-read their older comments? That’s a weird conversation.

                      “Since I don’t have time to read your novel, I’ll just say this. I disagree.”

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Seems like you’re just reframing what I just said. Yep, he’s the CEO of the Cubs….it doesn’t necessarily mean that his business acumen in on-line trading will translate to baseball. It could but it also may not. Tweaking the name of Wrigley Field slightly to obtain additional revenue doesn’t change people’s love of the memories of their time at a iconic ballpark. See that’s what I mean. Facts/conjecture, Scotti. Not the same.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      So, you are having a discussion with someone based on what they said yesterday? You keep posting new comments and re-read their older comments? That’s a weird conversation.

                      People do that all the time on here…continue a conversation from the past, especially from someone’s original post. Quite frankly, that’s a weird comment. :)

                    • Scotti

                      “See that’s what I mean.”

                      Of course I see what YOU mean. It is also clear that you DON’T see what I mean since you have read “some” my posts on the subject. I can see how this would be confusing, hearing only one side of the conversation that you, yourself, are in…

                    • Scotti

                      “People do that all the time on here…”

                      Generally, no. Skipping someone’s response to you wasn’t even done in the “dark days” of BN (a month ago). Certainly not now that civility has returned.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that I can’t gather a clear understanding of what your saying in your posts from what you’ve ORIGINALLY said and CONFIRMED with later post.

                      “Of course I see what YOU mean. It is also clear that you DON’T see what I mean since you have read “some” my posts on the subject. I can see how this would be confusing, hearing only one side of the conversation that you, yourself, are in…”

                      Well, here’s another weird comment. Apparently, the bigger issue is that you don’t want anyone to disagree with you nor the Ricketts verbatim with what the family is doing procedurally with the Cubs. That’s all I have to say, Scotti.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Skipping once response….what’s the hangup here, Scotti. You stated this originally in your first post just reframed it a completely long winded way in a further post. The civility here should be allowing a continuation of the conversation, not closing it off by stating you shouldn’t comment about that…because well….it was stated yesterday. If you’re going to state that…why should I bother reading all of your posts when you’ve showed your argumentation to be rather flimsy. :)
                      I think I gather you don’t like the fact that I don’t agree verbatim with the choices the Ricketts are making for the franchise.

                    • Scotti

                      “You stated this originally in your first post just reframed it a completely long winded way in a further post.”

                      Uh, actually, in that post that you haven’t read (wink, wink, nod, nod), I refuted YOUR byzantine claims of MY statements and beliefs.

                      “I think I gather you don’t like the fact that I don’t agree verbatim with the choices the Ricketts are making for the franchise.”

                      And where did I say this? You don’t gain any points for making unsubstantiated claims like this (or that I’m a Republican–not that there’s anything wrong with that). Seeing that I personally disagree with Ricketts–frequently I might add–this is an absolutely ludicrous statement.

                  • Scotti

                    Here’s an excellent interview (video) of Ricketts on a wide range of Wrigley/Family topics (rooftops, moving, staying, winning, legacy) from May of 2013.

                    http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/kapman/ricketts-naming-rights-seat-licenses-not-cubs-plans

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Again, you don’t have to agree with him, Scotti. Just because he said it doesn’t mean that there’s rational logic behind all of it. It’s your opinion and take on what he said. Bottom line. I disagree with they way he’s operating the Cubs. Much more so that Theo and Jed’s operation of the baseball side of things.

                    • ClevelandCubsFan

                      These are great reads before bed. I love a good debate!

                    • Scotti

                      “These are great reads before bed. I love a good debate!”

                      Get’s you nice and sleepy. Here’s a great one for you:

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs

                    • YourResidentJag

                      It most certainly does Scotti. It most certainly does.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett there is no way WGN shells out. $800,000-$1mil a game. It will probably be more like $600,000. The ratings are terrible these days bc the product on the field is do bad and they won’t go up till the fans see a legitimate contender on the field. See Baez or Bryant will not cause the ratings up shoot through the roof unless they turn out to be mike trout. Remember when Rizzo came up? Interest picked up for about a month bc he was hot when he came up and then struggled and ppl lost interest bc the team still sucked

    • Jason P

      Except most of these TV deals are for 20-25 years, so current on-field performance wouldn’t be as big of a factor. Of course, this deal may be much shorter unless they can buy out the CSN portion of games, and if that’s the case, you might be right.

  • Charles

    I don’t recall, but how many night games are the Cubs moving too? Day ad rates are much lower than prime time and until you are sure you have gotten all the night games you can out of city hall, does it even make sense to opt out of the CSN contract and renegotiate all home games to a single network?

    • Charles

      Meant all games not just home games

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett what do you the cubs payroll being in 2016 pre-new tv deal and post 20-9 with a new tv deal? I know that really hard to predict bc we must factor in the stadium renovations as well. I think by 2016 or 2017 this payroll should be able to spend near at least. $125mil per season and post we should be able to spend around $175million (assuming the tv deal bubble doesn’t burst). Payroll doesn’t win championships obviously but does allow you to recover after making FA choices which is inevitable.

  • Ballgame17

    Why couldn’t the Cubs sell the 70 WGN games thru ’19 after this season and have the contract say the network takes over all 162 after the CSN contract expires?? Then you can start the gravy train sooner and know exactly what you’re in store for in ’19 when the CSN deal ends..

  • Diehardthefirst

    Phillies audience includes NJ and NY which has more viewers than Iowa and Indiana and last time I checked Philadelphia only had one team in MLB

    • DarthHater

      According to an article at baseball-almanac.com, the Chicago market is about 9.1 million people, while the Philadelphia market is about 6.1 million people. It’s not entirely clear how those numbers were derived. There seems to be a surprising paucity of detailed data about this on the internet.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Cubs share with Sox but Phillies alone

    • 1060Ivy

      Television / media markets are typically measured by Designated Market Areas (DMA).

      As I recall Chicago is a bigger market based on households than Philly. Yes, Philly market extends into NJ and NY but these are not well populated counties. Just as Chicago extends into Indiana.

      Others have noted Chicago has 2 MLB teams rather than Philly’s but this doesn’t necessarily affect the reach of the teams broadcasts and corresponding possible viewers

  • Medicos

    The Cubs need add at least two free agent starting pitchers to be competitive in 2014. If not, this will just be another 90 to 95 loss season.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    How much are negotiations hampered by day games? They will be much less watched and much more likely to be DVR’d I would think.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It certainly matters, but keep in mind: 50% of the games are on the road, and of the 50% at home, something like 60 are at night or on the weekend (after the recent increase). (That was from the hip by the way, don’t crucify me if my math was off.)

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Yeah just thinking if you’ve got 35 weekly day games they might be worth half as much? That’s like a Tanaka…

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    The way things stand now I can watch every game without having to upgrade my cable for a special sports channel. I would be thrilled if CSN consolidated the deal.

  • bushybrows74

    I have been looking forward to resolution on the TV contract situation because I find it interesting and thought it would provide the Cubs a competitive revenue advantage. However, if the top 10 markets all get these mega deal contracts, its really not an advantage, but more of simply just keeping up.

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