Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

With the Chicago Cubs’ next TV broadcast rights deal likely to set the financial course for the organization for a very long time, and with the current deal set to expire in 2019 (that’s quite soon in TV deal terms), we’ve been checking in periodically on the Cubs’ TV ratings the last couple years. For more on why this is all rather important, you can get more background here.

At last check, the Cubs’ ratings were increasing over last year at a pace bettered only by the Kansas City Royals.

And things are still going quite well:

That game, mind you, was a Tuesday night affair against the Milwaukee Brewers, who are long out of contention. The trend continued with Wednesday’s game on WGN, which reached 255,000 households and was the highest rated WGN game in well over four years. It achieved a 7.3 household rating with a 10.0 peak rating (those are very strong). The many folks tuning in got to see quite a show, too.

Reaching new highs in the ratings is a very good thing for the Cubs right now as they negotiate their next long-term TV deal.

The St. Louis Cardinals just inked a massive long-term deal, replacing their current contract which expires after the 2017 season. The Cubs, then, are probably next up to bat.

It’s no secret that the landscape for long-term media rights deals is increasingly tricky in an era of changing consumer habits, and in-market streaming is the thorniest issue to overcome. It’s one thing to sign an enormous rights deal with a cable network, but it’s another thing entirely to figure out how to best capitalize on the streaming tendencies of your in-market fans (who are currently blacked out by (whose revenues are shared equally by all teams in the league, by the way (because the MLB entity wisely retained those rights many years ago and hasn’t bent on them since))).

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