Three of Chicago’s sports teams announced a new exclusive partnership with NBC Sports Chicago on Wednesday, but the biggest news of all is the team not involved in the pact.
The new deal, which takes effect for the 2019-20 season, was agreed to by the network and the Chicago White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks.
The deal will allow the network to exclusively air all regional games for the three teams, and will give the network multi-platform rights to the three teams’ games beginning on Oct. 1, 2019.
The deal does not include the Chicago Cubs, who have long been rumored to be exploring the launch of their own television network. The announcement would seem to confirm that suspicion, and the Cubs will be looking for a new home for their games after their current rights deal expires following the 2019 season.
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The new deal means that Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox games will no longer air on WGN or other regional networks, giving NBC Sports Chicago all non-nationally televised games for the teams beginning later this year.
“This is a significant agreement, and we are proud to continue to provide the most comprehensive, multi-platform coverage of these historic franchises,” NBC Sports Regional Networks President David Preschlack said in a statement.