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The confusion surrounding the future of TV broadcasts

Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Think you’re set to watch the Chicago Cubs next season? How do you plan to do it? Moves being made by MLB and the Chicago Cubs may just change your plans.

Well, it’s almost Black Friday. There are smart TV’s for sale and I’m already worried about how I’m going to tune into the Chicago Cubs games next season. Let’s face it, this is not a solid subject with bookends that anyone in management can talk clearly about.

In fact, there is a big question mark where once stood the words: The Plan for the Future of Cubs Media, at least in the eyes of the fans. Either that or the Cubs’ Public Affairs office needs to learn the word – Release.

ESPN announced recently that it will televise three of the first five Cubs games in 2019. There was no formal announcement of what ‘commercials’ might be broadcast during those games… I’m joking, but don’t think endorsements and contracts have nothing to do with any of this. Even our lovable Northwest Indiana friends at the Cubs Insider were thinking television this week, as they talked about the new MLB broadcast deals.

It was announced Thursday that the league and Fox Sports had agreed to a new TV rights deal that is worth a reported $5.1 billion over seven years. That’s an increase of around 50 percent in total value and 36 percent per year over the current deal that runs through 2021 and pays $525 million annually…In a subsequent announcement, it was revealed that MLB had agreed to a three-year, $300 million live digital rights deal with streaming service DAZN. 

If you ask me, turning on the TV to watch the Cubs has just gotten more complicated. Between TV deals and online broadcasts, it’s easy to see why fans might be scratching their heads wondering how exactly they are going to tune in to watch their favorite team next season.

There was once talk about putting the whole regular season online, but that notion seems naive due to the high finance numbers involved with a Cubs broadcast. Currently DAZN which has only been around two years, charges $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial in the U.S., is available on connected devices including Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and PCs. This cost may be distributed through normal subscription fees but DAZN’s gonna get paid and it may be outta our pocket. So where are the Cubs on all this?

Next: Facebook and the Chicago Cubs Regional Sports Network

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