Big BN news coming a little later this morning on something many of you have asked about for a while. Well, “big” if you like the finer things in life. (UPDATE: by which I mean clothing style. A bunch of new BN shirts (on sale, too)!)
- Bruce Levine, who has always been very tapped in on the TV deal stuff over the past five years, reports a couple things about which we’ve speculated (and I’ll now treat as confirmed): the new Cubs/WGN deal has opt-outs built in, which suggests the Cubs are, indeed, holding open the possibility that they could put together their full-slate, long-term TV deal before 2019; the new deal also includes revenue-sharing potential, which could increase the Cubs’ take on the games over the next five years if the team’s games perform well for WGN. My guess is that the latter one isn’t going to involve a huge amount of money, but at least it preserves some upside for the Cubs, who very likely didn’t improve dramatically on their guaranteed $250,000ish per-game take in the new WGN deal from the old one. (Though it’s a good bet that the Cubs did improve on that rate in the ABC-7 deal, and we know that the CSN rate climbs over the next five years – so revenue should increase, at least a little, from the TV deals either way over the next five years.)
- I know that the remaining thing about the TV deal(s) that folks really want to know is whether folks who are close to Chicago, but not close enough to get WGN-9 and ABC-7 over-the-air, will be able to watch those games locally. A consensus seems to be forming around the answer: it’s going to depend on whether your local affiliates (likely a CW station and an ABC station) are permitted/agree to a deal to pick up the games from WGN and ABC. It seems likely that at least some stations will for at least some of the games, but that stuff couldn’t shake out until these deals with the Cubs were in place. It may come down to whether the non-Chicago stations feel like they can do better numbers with Cubs games than whatever else the would be running at the time, and that may come down to how many Cubs fans there are in your area of Illinois/Wisconsin/Iowa/Indiana. (There’s also the chance that multicast stations are utilized in some capacity, as that was something the Cubs were reportedly discussing last year, albeit in a slightly different fashion.)
- Again, I expect this to be discussed at the Convention next week (at a minimum, I’ll be asking around), but we may not have definitives until closer to when the season begins. This is just a uniquely weird situation in the world of broadcast rights.
- Jesse Rogers has a great piece at ESPN on the Cubs’ pursuit and acquisition of David Ross, and about how much Ross wants to win in Chicago. Ross confirms that the Cubs wanted him all along, and then stepped it up even more after they signed Jon Lester (the rationale apparently (and wisely) being that having Ross is even more valuable to the team when you’ve already got Lester, not the other way around). You will like David Ross even more after you read this piece. He’s the next cult hero among Cubs fans, I can pretty much guarantee it. (Of course, historically, that’s always been a pretty safe bet among back-up catchers for some reason.)
- A fun read on the new Sloan-Cubs partnership from Danny Ecker at Crain’s. The upshot? In addition to the deal being for “10-plus” years and worth “seven figures annually,” Sloan has a good sense of humor about the relationship between a company that makes plumbing fixtures and a baseball team. Your good-natured jokes are welcome. Jon Greenberg has more on the same, and, as Sloan’s CEO pointed out to Greenberg, have you ever heard of Sloan before yesterday? Good point, and good deal for Sloan, jokes and all.
- Jake Johnson on The Curse – namely: we are The Curse.
- The Face of MLB competition thing is happening again, starting with each team getting its face of the franchise. No surprise in the least for the Cubs:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 8, 2015
- An awful story about a Yankees pitching prospect who got sucker-punched and kicked while unconscious by a former NFL linebacker because, apparently, he wouldn’t tell the NFL player how much he got in his signing bonus with the Yankees.
- On the strong correlation between infield fly ball rate and BABIP.