kid-watching-tvGood news on the TV front for folks in Des Moines, Indianapolis, Peoria, and Champaign who don’t get Chicago stations but would have otherwise been blacked out on MLB.tv or Extra Innings: you’re going to be getting some Cubs games.

The hope remains that all major areas in the Cubs’ blackout region (Illinois, Iowa, most of Indiana, and a little bit of southern Wisconsin) will get some games by way of one of these syndication deals.

The Cubs have indicated that they are working with MLB to lift the blackout restrictions for games that are unequivocally not made available in a given area within that region. This would have to be a special exception given how important the blackout regions are to MLB’s TV rights model, but this is an unusual situation.

Typically, where viewers in the blackout region don’t have access to their team’s games it’s because the games are being provided in the area, but their cable or satellite operator refuses to carry the games. In other words, in most areas that are blacked out for a given team, if you’re willing to switch providers or pay yours extra for a special sports package or an extra RSN channel, you can get access to the games (it’s just expensive and/or a pain in the but).



In this situation, unless every city in the blackout region gets a syndication deal done to carry all of the Cubs’ over-the-air games, there will be some Cubs games that are flat-out not available in any way to some people in some cities. MLB doesn’t want that. The Cubs don’t want that. So, hopefully there will be many more syndication deals, and hopefully folks who aren’t covered can decide whether they want to watch on MLB.tv or Extra Innings. I also hope we know the final tally more clearly by Opening Day.

UPDATE: I asked for folks to holler if they’d heard more, and they did. Thanks to Mike on Twitter for the heads up that South Bend is getting a bunch of games on WMYS.

Jim and Greg (and ssck in the comments!) let me know that Cedar Rapids is in the fold, too, on KCRG-TV9.

And Andy Dolan (Desipio) says (oh, and KristyJeff in the comments, too) Rockford is getting all of the over-the-air WGN/ABC games, not just some, via 23.2 and 17.2.

So, there you go. More and more coverage. I’m guessing most of the area will be covered by the time the season rolls around, or within a few weeks of Opening Day. You may just have to do some channel flipping to find the first WGN or ABC game (or call your local stations to find out).






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