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Lamp81
02-17-2013, 12:53 PM
Interesting piece in the Tribune today about why Bob Brenly and Dan Plesac both declined the Cubs, this offseason. Apparently the Cubs deal with WGN expires after 2014, and Brenly or Plesac couldn't get guaranteed contracts past that date.

As it stands now, both Cubs and Sox play their games on WGN, WCIU, and CSN. WGN America also shows the WGN games to the rest of the country, which IIRC, they are the only remaining Superstation to do so.

What's the Sox contract with WGN? If WGN lost the Cubs, would they broadcast more Sox games? What local TV stations would make a play for the Cubs, WCIU26, WPWR50, or WCPX38? I doubt the stations with affiliate agreements would be able to carve out enough space for a local sports team (ABC7, FOX32, etc).

The only strong possibility I woul see is that WCIU26 ends their agreement to air WGN produced games and maybe air their own packages of Cubs and Sox games.

Certainly if Tribune Co was still majority owner of the Cubs, WGN would retain the team, and probably pay them below market rates for it.

Lip Man 1
02-17-2013, 04:59 PM
Lamp:

I strongly doubt the Cubs will EVER end their relationship completely with WGN TV and WGN radio. Not going to happen.

I strongly recommend reading in total this interview I did with Bob Grim, the director of broadcast operations for the White Sox. He answers many of the questions that you are posing:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3669

Lip

FielderJones
02-18-2013, 01:16 PM
I strongly recommend reading in total this interview I did with Bob Grim, the director of broadcast operations for the White Sox. He answers many of the questions that you are posing:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3669


What year is that interview from? Is it possible that the sports broadcasting landscape in Chicago is changing due to the breakup of the Tribune Company? I'd be interested if Bob Grim has any seen any changes on the horizon.

Lip Man 1
02-18-2013, 02:01 PM
Fielder:

The interview if I remember correctly is from 2008. That's a good question I'll contact Bob and get his thoughts. I don't know if he's at spring training or not so I don't know when he'd be able to answer.

Lip

Moses_Scurry
02-18-2013, 06:37 PM
Is there any possible way the Sox will get one of those fat TV contracts that have allowed the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels, etc to go crazy with the free agents? Or will they be one of the last teams to climb on board, thereby erasing the benefit? Who will be the next team to get a TV deal and start spending like crazy? Mets?

Lip Man 1
02-18-2013, 08:17 PM
Moses:

There's always a chance depending on how the Sox are able to position themselves but to get a contract like the teams you mentioned? Probably very unlikely.

Mets are a good guess by the way although I don't know when their deal expires.

Lip

anewman35
02-19-2013, 06:45 AM
I don't have the time to do a lot of research on this, so I apologize if I'm misinformed, but I believe the teams that are getting huge tv deals are mostly getting them by starting their own networks or by renegotiating deals with networks they don't own. The Mets already have their own network (SNY), so unless they decide to scrap that and sign with somebody else for more money, I don't see how they get a big payday. As for the Sox, I don't know for sure what their status is with Comcast Sportsnet (which they co-own along with Comcast, the Cubs, the Bulls and the Blackhawks), but in one of the Cubs/WGN articles it was mentioned the Cubs are locked in until 2019, it stands to reason the Sox have the same deal and therefore won't be getting the huge cash any time soon.

PKalltheway
02-19-2013, 11:54 AM
Lamp:

I strongly doubt the Cubs will EVER end their relationship completely with WGN TV and WGN radio. Not going to happen.
Certainly not with WGN radio, but I don't believe it's out of the realm of possibility with the TV side. There's just too much money to be made off of these new TV deals. If it doesn't happen in 2014, I could see it happen once their contract with CSN Chicago is up in 2019.

However, the Yankees and Mets have their own networks and still broadcast a number of games on local stations (especially the Mets on WPIX), so I guess there's precedent. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

doublem23
02-19-2013, 12:27 PM
I wonder if the Cubs might try and have their cake and eat it too, pulling their games off WGN locally in leiu of a more lucrative deal in the Chicago market while still using the superstation might of WGN America to broadcast nationally.

russ99
02-19-2013, 01:24 PM
If the Cubs pull out of CSN and start their own network/channel, as has been long speculated, I wonder if CSN could handle the loss of the Cubs and still be financially viable as they stand now.

Maybe we could see some kind of split-off with the Reinsdorf owned Sox and Bulls partnering with the Hawks (which they have in the past) to start their own network.

IMO, that would have a lot more pull with advertisers and subscribers than a Cubs-only network, despite their nationwide fanbase.

doublem23
02-19-2013, 01:38 PM
If the Cubs pull out of CSN and start their own network/channel, as has been long speculated, I wonder if CSN could handle the loss of the Cubs and still be financially viable as they stand now.

Maybe we could see some kind of split-off with the Reinsdorf owned Sox and Bulls partnering with the Hawks (which they have in the past) to start their own network.

IMO, that would have a lot more pull with advertisers and subscribers than a Cubs-only network, despite their nationwide fanbase.

The Sox/Bulls marriage seems pretty natural but is it a given the Hawks would side with them and not the Cubs? Lot of familiarity between the two front offices and the Hawks seem to be natural "rivals" for the Bulls in that their seasons run pretty much head-to-head.

That said, the Bulls and Hawks are small fish in this sea; the elephant in this room is the Bears and what they would decide to do. Obviously you won't get their actual games but man, you can fill a lot of timelots up for a big chunk of the baseball off-season with exclusive football programming.

I also don't think it's unreasonable to think the 4 (Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Hawks) teams in town may one day just launch a channel together just without Comcast as a part-owner. Keep all that revenue for themselves.

I gotta feeling the Cubs are going to watch whatever the Dodgers do and emulate their model if successful. Anybody know what the hell they plan to air on their new channel in the approximately 93.5% of the year that is not live baseball?

Lip Man 1
02-19-2013, 01:48 PM
I suspect it will be a lot of what YES does. From a baseball standpoint they have Yankee documentaries, shows highlighting all time great players (Yankeeography), great seasons, have sports related talk shows and the like.

The Dodgers like the Yankees have the film and tape archives available to do a lot of these.

Lip

WhiffleBall
02-19-2013, 03:14 PM
I suspect it will be a lot of what YES does. From a baseball standpoint they have Yankee documentaries, shows highlighting all time great players (Yankeeography), great seasons, have sports related talk shows and the like.

The Dodgers like the Yankees have the film and tape archives available to do a lot of these.

Lip

Any idea on how much Sox archive material is available? I'm guessing not nearly as much as the Yankees.

Lip Man 1
02-19-2013, 04:13 PM
From my interview with Bob Grim:

ML: Well taking it a step further have the Sox ever had any discussions about starting their own TV network a la the Yankees YES Network? I mean Jerry Reinsdorf owns the Sox, he owns the Bulls and he has a good relationship with the Wirtz Family, they both built the United Center. That gives you three major sports and you don’t have to play second fiddle to the Cubs anymore.

BG: “I’ve never personally been involved in any discussions like that but I think it probably has been talked about. Even with those three teams that you mentioned Mark, we’d still have an awful lot of time to fill. You’re talking about 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“Right now to be honest the Sox simply don’t have the amount of video, classic games and stuff that could be used to do something like that. We’re getting closer though, major league baseball now requires all teams to tape every game and send the copy to New York where they archive it for us. So as time goes on we’ll be getting more and more material that we could use if something like this happens but now unlike the Yankees, we just don’t have material from the 20’s or 30’s that we could use say as a documentary to help fill time. When Jerry and his group took over in January 1981, they looked and any material that the Sox may have had was gone. No one knows where it went or who got it.”

-----------------------------
Rumors had it the Veeck family took that material but when I interviewed Mike Veeck he denied that the family has the material. Rich King at WGN-TV told me they have very little stored before 1983. WGN-TV did throw out thousands of reels of film in 1962 when they moved to their location on Bradley Place. A lot of that material was Sox / Cubs stuff from the 1950's.

Lip

soxfanreggie
02-22-2013, 10:49 AM
First: I wonder how much footage we could acquire from other teams. It might be road footage, but if the Yankees have a ton of it, we should be able to get some. This is also the day and age where people are finding things in attics and basements. Throw out some offers to fans - trade footage your family may have for some seats - club, suite seats, a team meet and greet. Same for the Bulls and Hawks. Hire a media person specializing in that to assemble whatever they can and then assess from there how much they have acquired.

Also, another option is to throw on some games from local teams in the state. If their games aren't being broadcast elsewhere, throw on some of them.

Lip Man 1
02-22-2013, 12:42 PM
Spoke with Jeff Szynal the Sox Hall of Fame curator and historian last night. Jeff said when he took over in 1984 they did find some items and film pieces on the Sox that he wanted to transfer to (then) VHS tape for preserving.

However that material was stored in an area of the original Comiskey Park that wasn't good for preserving film and when they tried to transfer them the majority had deteriorated to the point where you just couldn't see anything.

Such a shame.

Wonder what that material originally was? Maybe season highlights from those great teams of the 1960's or perhaps stuff from 1972.

Lip

Lamp81
02-22-2013, 02:04 PM
I was watching MLB network a couple of weeks ago, and I believe they had some footage of Goose Gossage in Comiskey Park. What struck me about the footage was the infield was artificial and outfield was grass.

I had read about this era and seen photos, but couldn't recall seeing it on Video before. Maybe this footage was from the opponent telecast.

Outside of the saving on a little bit of mowing, whey would the Sox have done this? It looked like they still had the full dirt infield, and not just the dirt sliding pits that other stadiums had.

Obviously it didn't last long, but this seems to make no sense, you'd eith want all artificial or all natural not some hybrid. Did any other teams try this?

Lip Man 1
02-22-2013, 02:09 PM
Don't know if anybody else did this. It was called "Sox Sod." It was just the infield. Yes they kept the dirt basepaths.

It was done to save money they were having to maintain the infield and the drainage system at Comiskey Park wasn't the best back then so they thought this was the answer.

When Veeck bought the team he had it removed before the start of the 1976 season.

Lip

Nellie_Fox
02-22-2013, 02:19 PM
Don't know if anybody else did this. It was called "Sox Sod." It was just the infield. Yes they kept the dirt basepaths.

It was done to save money they were having to maintain the infield and the drainage system at Comiskey Park wasn't the best back then so they thought this was the answer.

When Veeck bought the team he had it removed before the start of the 1976 season.

LipI also seem to remember that they thought that the truer hops the ball takes on artificial turf was a benefit in the infield more than the outfield. For a long time, old Comiskey had a reputation for a pretty bad infield.

Noneck
02-22-2013, 02:29 PM
I think the Sox sod and cyclone fences in outfield came the same year, 69? I remember going to a rasslin match at Sox park when they had the Sox sod and watched guys put out their cigarettes and cigars on the sod. Never saw the sod close up but it must have been quite nasty.

Nellie_Fox
02-22-2013, 02:35 PM
You can see the difference in the color of the infield and outfield in this picture:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l37bobcPkE1qzniimo1_400.jpg

1969 it was, I was away in the Army then.

Lip Man 1
02-22-2013, 03:21 PM
That picture by the way is from 1972.

Lip

Nellie_Fox
02-22-2013, 03:23 PM
That picture by the way is from 1972.

LipThus the good crowd?

palehozenychicty
02-22-2013, 03:23 PM
Is there any possible way the Sox will get one of those fat TV contracts that have allowed the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels, etc to go crazy with the free agents? Or will they be one of the last teams to climb on board, thereby erasing the benefit? Who will be the next team to get a TV deal and start spending like crazy? Mets?

They already have Sports Net New York.

kba
02-22-2013, 07:56 PM
I had read about this era and seen photos, but couldn't recall seeing it on Video before. Maybe this footage was from the opponent telecast.


This film (http://www.fuzzymemories.tv/#videoclip-2847) (at 6:18) has some nice shots of the Astroturf infield and the ballpark - from 1969 or 1970. No cyclone fence, though.

This one (http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25527613) has a good shot of the seam between the turf and the grass as Carlos May rounds third base. From '74, I think.