Report: Cubs are '80 percent inclined' to start their own TV network in a few years

The Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year World Series title drought in 2016 and they've won more regular season games than any other team over the last three seasons. They've conquered baseball.

Up next: Conquering the local media market.

According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said the club is "80 percent inclined" to start their own television network once their existing media contracts expire following the 2019 season. From Gonzales:

"We have a big passion for controlling our own destiny," added Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations. "It's sort of like conversations in the real estate market. We like controlling our own destiny. You start adding partners and it becomes a lot more complicated." 


"(Bulls and White Sox Chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf has been an amazing partner, as has Comcast," Kenney said. "It's been a very successful thing. If it made the ultimate sense, it would (make sense to stay). But I'd say at the moment we're 80 percent inclined to do it on our own."

Kenney said the Cubs have been looking forward to a major TV deal since the Ricketts family bought the franchise from the Tribune Co. in 2009.

"We've never lost focus on this because it's such a big (deal) and a game-changer for us," Kenney said. "And two years ago, Theo Epstein … said the next TV deal could present a 'paradigm shift.' "

The Cubs currently have lucrative media deals with NBC Sports Chicago, ABC-7 and WGN-9. The team stands to make much more money with their own network, however. The Yankees (YES Network), Dodgers (SportsNet LA), Mets (SNY), and Red Sox (NESN) all currently operate their own regional sports networks. The Dodgers will make $8.3 billion in their first 25 years on SportsNet LA, which is a number the Cubs will surely look to top.

While there is legitimate concern about the cable bubble bursting and its impact on MLB, the league has the best online streaming service in sports and is in better position to deal with cord-cutters long-term. Even then, the Cubs stand to make massive amounts of money with their own network, money that will allow them to raise payroll and become even more of a powerhouse in the future.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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