Cubs, WGN-TV announce five-year deal

CHICAGO -- The Cubs and WGN-TV announced a five-year agreement Thursday in which the local station will televise 45 games annually, beginning with the 2015 season.

WGN-TV has been the Cubs' television home since 1948, but the team had opted out of an agreement after the 2014 season ended. By doing so, there were 70 games available, which now will be split between WGN-TV (45 games) and WLS-TV/ABC 7 (25 games). The Cubs announced a five-year agreement with WLS-TV/ABC 7 in December.

The other Cubs games will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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

As part of the agreement announced Thursday, television broadcasters Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper will become employees of the Cubs after previously being employed by WGN-TV.

The Cubs are expected to release the television broadcast schedule next month.

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.