Published on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 08:20
The Chicago Blackhawks and WGN-TV each announced this morning that they have agreed on an extension to their rightsholder contract for an additional five years. This will keep some Chicago Blackhawks games on the independent Chicago station through the end of the 2015-2016 NHL season.
Although the Chicago Blackhawks have been on WGN-TV varying times over the last few decades, this most recent deal between the Chicago Blackhawks and WGN-TV began at the start of the 2008-2009 season. It has been a case of perfect timing for WGN-TV. Since beginning broadcasts again on their station at the start of the 2008 season, the Chicago Blackhawks have soared in popularity in Chicago and won the championship Stanley Cup at the end of last season. Television ratings for for Blackhawks games WGN-TV have increased over 85%.
Chicago Blackhawks President John McDonough said in the press release: "The Chicago Blackhawks are very proud of our association with WGN-TV. They represent the finest local sports programming in America and this extension is another step forward for our franchise."
Marty Wilke, Vice-President and General Manager of WGN-TV/CLTV added: "We're proud to continue this great partnership with the Blackhawks on WGN-TV, where Chicago's Very Own plays. Our viewers will get more of what they want and it's clear they love their Chicago Blackhawks."
The broadcast contract with WGN-TV is not an exclusive contract, however. The majority of Chicago Blackhawks games will continue to be shown on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. (The Chicago Blackhawks organization are 20% owners in that local cable station.) National games will continue to be be shown on Versus and NBC. Also, games broadcast on Chicago's WGN-TV are not allowed to be broadcast on their cable/satellite superstation, WGN America.
In April of last year, the Chicago Blackhawks renewed their contract to have their radio broadcasts
heard on WGN-TV's radio partner, WGN-AM. That deal was a three year extension, which runs through the end of the 2013-2014 NHL season.