Sinclair Broadcast Group said Tuesday it expects to generate signficant cash — up to $50 million annually — from the Chicago Cubs regional sports network it will launch in 2020.,Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s president and chief executive officer, said the Maryland-based broadcaster is looking at the Cubs TV network, announced earlier this month, as a boon to the bottom line and a model to partner with other teams.,The Marquee Sports Network, as it will be called, will become the exclusive TV home of the Cubs, ending 70 years of local over-the-air broadcasts and moving all of the games to cable and satellite.,The current Cubs local TV schedule is split between WGN-Ch.9, WLS-Ch.7 and NBC Sports Chicago, the regional sports network formed in 2004.,The Cubs represent Sinclair's first foray in a regional sports network.

Chairman Ricketts referred to Joe Ricketts emails as unacceptable, stressed that his father has no direct role or economic interest in the team and praised him for his charity work in Islamic East Africa.When asked why the team spent so little money this winter, Ricketts replied, Thats a pretty easy question to answer we dont have any more.,He said the impending launch of a regional sports network with Sinclair Broadcast Group would not compel the team to jump into the pool of high-priced free agents.As much as I would love to have a great, new, exciting player every year, Ricketts said, it just cant happen every year.The Cubs made only minimal upgrades to a team that won 95 games in 2018 but lost the division title in Game 163 to the Milwaukee Brewers.,The owner outlined three points to the players, he said: respect the Cubs by acting well on and off the field, respect the fans and contact the team if interested in doing charity work.Then he spoke about his fathers emails.On Feb. 4, the website Splinter News published emails sent by and forwarded to Joe Ricketts, founder and former CEO of TD Ameritrade, whose children purchased the Cubs in 2009.,Ricketts mentioned the raises accrued by Bryant and infielder Javier Baez in arbitration, plus the teams decision to pick up a $20-million option on pitcher Cole Hamels.Those contracts put us well above what weve ever spent before, Ricketts said.The Cubs have shown little interest in either outfielder Bryce Harper or infielder Manny Machado, the two unsigned stars on the market.,To get this behind him, and become a better person.During his remarks to the media, Ricketts bundled the issues swirling around the team his fathers emails, Russells suspension, the lack of spending into the category of distractions.

NBC Sports Chicago announces its 2019 White Sox and Cubs Spring Training multi-platform coverage details originally appeared on nbcsportschicago.com

Chicago, IL (February 7, 2019) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - is ready to start up the highly-anticipated 2019 MLB season as it gets set to deliver southside and northside baseball fans with its most extensive cross-platform White Sox & Cubs Cactus League Spring Training coverage to date featuring special remote editions of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado, along with in-depth reports and video offerings at NBCSportsChicago.com and via the new MyTeams by NBC Sports app and much more (NOTE: Fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).,Note the following highlights beginning next Monday, February 11: read more

The Chicago Cubs are teaming with Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch a regional sports network in February 2020 that will become the exclusive television home of the Cubs.,It marks the end of more than 70 years of over-the-air broadcasts for the Cubs, and the beginning of an ambitious endeavor to sell cable and satellite providers on the value of the carrying the new regional network — no sure thing in an increasingly fragmented world of cable TV.,But if all goes according to plan and cable providers from Southwest Michigan to Iowa — Major League Baseball’s designated home broadcast turf for the team — agree to carry the new network, viewers will have no choice but to watch local Cubs games on pay TV.,Having their own channel will enable the Cubs to have all of their programming in one place, versus splitting the games between two broadcast stations — WGN-Ch.9 and WLS-Ch.7 — and sharing coverage with the Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox on NBC Sports Chicago, formerly Comcast SportsNet, the regional sports network formed in 2004.,But in the five years since the Cubs planted the seed of the regional sports network, the pay-TV landscape has changed dramatically, with cord cutting and skinny bundles squeezing the carriage fees cable companies are willing to pay for even sports, long the most valuable programming commodity.

But unlike HBO and “Game of Thrones,” WGN and the Cubs aren’t hyping their final season together after 72 years.,In my first year as Cubs beat writer in 1997, WGN televised 144 games.,The following January, the Cubs owners — Tribune Co. — decided to reduce the WGN schedule to 92 games, placing 62 games on CLTV, the company’s local cable news channel.,Fans gradually grew accustomed to watching more games on cable, and in 2003 the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks began their own sports channel, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which is now NBC Sports Chicago.,WGN will televise the Cubs' season opener — likely for the last time »

'I have more confidence than last year': A healthy Yu Darvish eyes his return to dominance with the Cubs » read more

The Cubs-owning Ricketts family has ripped Tunney as he seeks re-election in the 44th Ward, which includes Wrigley Field.,“I mean, Tom Tunney has always seen himself as someone who is against the Cubs,” Ricketts said.,The comment Ricketts referenced was uttered on the City Council floor in 2013, when Tunney said he would "be up your butt every day" if the Cubs owners didn't honor their commitments to Wrigleyville residents.,Told of Ricketts’ comments, Tunney said he thinks Ricketts is still upset the team didn’t get public funding to help pay for Wrigley Field renovations.,Asked whether the Ricketts family’s involvement in the race helps his candidacy in the eyes of residents leery of their reach in and around the ballpark, Tunney said “there is a genuine concern about total control of an alderman by any individual, in this case the Ricketts family.”

IF THE NFL IS DOING its sly diligence -- as its officiating crew yellow-flagged so magnificently in holding the audience deep into New Orleans's 20-14 NFC semi over Philadelphia last Sunday -- there is simply no way young magic man Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (-3) don't bounce New England in the AFC Championship game Sunday (CBS, 5:40 p.m.).,As for the Saints (-3, tiny push to 3½) and the visiting L.A. Rams (Fox, 2:05 p.m.), if the NFL allows the game to be played organically the whole way through -- extremely unlikely -- New Orleans can name the final.,THE LATE RED RUSH -- without question, one of the two or three most colorful play-by-play men in the history of Chicago sportscasting and the best pitchman that Gonnella Bread ever had -- will finally be appropriately honored by Loyola University.,… Broadcast hop-in of the week was Snoop Dogg, who assisted in the call of the L.A. Kings win over Pittsburgh last Saturday.,… CBS's meteoric Tony Romo, asked by one national reporter to break down the top young QBs in the NFL, had Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.