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Cubs look to alter TV deal with WGN

The SportsXchange

A basic cable fixture is up for renegotiation, as the Chicago Cubs are seeking a new deal with WGN-TV.

The team exercised an option to end its contract with the network following the 2014 season, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. If WGN does not agree to higher fees within the next month, the team could look for another television partner.

The move by the team to seek a new deal cuts the end date of the contract from 2022 to 2019.

The Cubs and the Tribune Co., owner of WGN-TV, declined comment on the report, according to the newspaper.

Cubs games have aired on WGN since 1948, with the station currently showing approximately 70 games per season at a cost of $20 million, the Tribune reported. The team's other games are carried by Comcast SportsNet Chicago in a contract that runs through 2019.

The Cubs' decision to seek higher television fees is not surprising in the wake of the massive TV deal the Los Angeles Dodgers landed earlier this year. Time Warner Cable agreed to a 25-year deal to air Dodgers games at a cost of at least $7 billion.

Beyond 2019, the Cubs could create their own cable network, the plan Time Warner is using for the Dodgers.

In other Cubs broadcasting news, WGN Radio announced Wednesday that Keith Moreland is leaving the team's radio crew. Moreland served as a color analyst for three seasons.

The former Cubs third baseman wrote to WGN, "I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity. After spending three years doing it, I've simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas."
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