ABC 7 to broadcast 25 Cubs games next season

CHICAGO -- The Cubs and WLS-TV/ABC 7 Chicago announced a partnership Friday for television rights to 25 games per year through 2019.

Starting next April, Cubs games will begin airing on ABC 7 Chicago in primetime, daytime and weekends.

The Cubs opted out of an agreement with WGN-TV after the 2014 season ended, which made 70 games available on television. Games also are broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

The length of the contract with WLS-TV/ABC 7 is key, because the Cubs are trying to get their broadcast and cable rights in sync after the 2019 season. At that time, the team may launch its own regional sports network.

"We are excited to have WLS-TV as our new television broadcast partner," said Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney in a statement. "WLS-TV has established itself as a trusted voice in Chicago, and we look forward to a new chapter of Cubs baseball airing on the flagship station of the ABC television network."

Kenney said the Cubs will announce who will carry the remaining games not currently under contract to WLS-TV/ABC 7 or Comcast SportsNet. He said all Cubs games will be on the air in Chicago next season.

According to reports, WLS-TV/ABC 7 will air most of the games on weekends.

This is not the first time Cubs games have aired on Channel 7. In 1949, three stations broadcast games, including WENR, which was the predecessor to WLS. That lasted one season.

Television broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies are expected to handle the Cubs broadcasts on WLS-TV/ABC 7 as well.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.