WGN calls it quits with Chicago Cubs after 90 years — and zero World Series titles
Thursday morning looks set to mark the beginning of the end for one of the longest-running relationships in sports, as the Chicago Cubs and WGN Radio part ways, terminating a partnership that began in 1925.
The Chicago Sun-Times and other local media are reporting that Tribune Co.–owned WGN — whose call letters, as all Chicago elementary schoolers once knew, stand for World’s Greatest Newspaper — will exercise an opt-out clause and cease broadcasting Cubs games at the end of the 2014 season.
By several measures (average home attendance, down from 39,000-plus in 2009 to 32,500 so far this season, say, or having no player’s jersey rank among baseball’s best sellers), the radio station is only the latest to lose faith with the ballclub, even as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the opening of its historic and idyllic ballpark, Wrigley Field.
The station has been the team’s radio home for 90 years — meaning it missed only the first eight Cubs seasons at Wrigley and, not to put too fine a point on it, arrived only 17 years too late to catch the Cubs’ last World Series championship.
WBBM would pick up the Cubs beginning in 2015.
Cubs broadcasters Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer, successors to a legendary line including Bob Elson, Jack Brickhouse and Lou Boudreau, will still handle the play-by-play, WGN-TV’s website has reported.