From SABR member Al Yellon at Bleed Cubbie Blue on February 22, 2019:
If you grew up in Chicago anytime from the early 1950s through the late 1990s, one thing you could count on was Cubs baseball televised on WGN-TV. It began with all the Cubs home games being televised, and until 1988 all of those were in the daytime, meaning thousands of school kids could watch the end of games after school let out in mid-afternoon. After 1967, more than 140 games a year were carried by WGN — and in the late 1960s this was far, far more than any other team showed on free TV — further cementing the relationship between the Cubs, their fans, and the television station.
This isn’t even counting the many thousands of fans who got attached to the Cubs when WGN-TV began to be carried on national cable/satellite TV in the early 1980s. This led to many people who never lived in Chicago at all to become Cubs fans for life.
This article isn’t about them, though; it’s about the long-standing tradition of Cubs games being carried on free, over-the-air broadcast television, sustained by advertising for the station, who then paid a rights fee to the team for carrying the games.
Read the full article here: https://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2019/2/22/18235697/baseball-free-over-the-air-television-coming-to-an-end
- Related link: Get your copy of SABR’s Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present, by Stuart Shea
Originally published: February 22, 2019. Last Updated: February 22, 2019.