MESA, Ariz., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said a discussion on television rights fees will begin this year, suggesting the team and WGN-TV may part ways.
Cubs games have been broadcast on WGN-TV since 1948 and the television exposure helped increase the team's value from $20.5 million when Tribune Company bought it in 1981 to $845 million when the Ricketts family bought the Cubs, Wrigley Field and a share in Comcast SportsNet in 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday.
The contract between WGN-TV and the Cubs ends in 2014, and Sunday Ricketts declined to address the team's media plans, except to say, "Obviously local media rights have been increasing in value. Hopefully at some point we will be able to get more for our media rights. It's just something that's playing out over time."
Since Tribune Company, owner of WGN-TV, no longer owns the Cubs, the Ricketts family has no obligation to keep the games on the station, the newspaper noted.