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Details Of Cubs' Proposed Signage Still Unclear; Could Murdoch Win Media Rights?
Published May 6, 2013
LATE-NIGHT TIP: In Chicago, Fran Spielman noted city Mayor Rahm Emanuel will "start delivering" this week on the "promises he made to Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts by introducing an ordinance authorizing 40 night games per season at Wrigley Field." However, area residents are "anxiously awaiting the fine print." If the City Council agrees to "raise the night-game ceiling from 30 to 40, the Cubs have agreed to schedule just 35 of those dates and hold five in reserve for night games dictated" by MLB or its national television contract. If MLB "dictates more than five night games a season, the Cubs want" the City Council to "authorize it without 'counting' those games against the 40-game ceiling." Playoff games, re-scheduled games or the All-Star Game "would not count, either." All of that is "in addition to four concerts-per-season and six 3:05 p.m. starts on Friday afternoons." Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said, "It’s been averaging three to four a year. But under the new (TV contract), it could be more than that -- up to 11. That would happen if you were a playoff team headed toward a World Series." Sources "refused to disclose the fine print until the mayor introduces the ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/4).
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS: In Indiana, George Castle writes, "Lost in the hubbub of Tom Ricketts’ threat to move from Wrigley Field is the Cubs chairman’s desire for vastly increased TV rights fees that could bump WGN out of the picture for the first time in 65 years." The list of "suitors for the over-the-air rights portion may be small." Ricketts’ choices could be "limited to WGN and media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Fox-32 and My-50 over-the-air stations." Ricketts would "likely want to remain on WGN," but that station's execs may "feel sticker shock when Ricketts presents his demands for broadcast money to approximate the megabucks of other major baseball markets." It is "hardly a slam-dunk" WGN will "retain the Cubs beyond 2014." Murdoch has "less network programming to clear on Fox-32," and he "has a 'shadow' station in My-50 for ballgames that conflict with Fox-32 entertainment shows." Murdoch has "no other logical well-heeled competitors in Chicago" (Northwest Indiana TIMES, 5/6).