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Chicago Sports Network will launch in the fall

On Monday, Chicago Sports Network announced it will be the new home for the Chicago White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks when the regional seeding network launches in October. It will launch with deals in place with cable, streaming and over-the-air providers, but none have been named. The network will make a number of announcements over the summer, ranging from casting, talent and programming. The teams are leaving NBC Sports Chicago, which has been with the network since October 2004.

Chicago Sports Network will launch in the fall

Chicago Sports Network will be owned by the three teams and national broadcaster Standard Media. Stanard is sold out of Nashville, which has stations in Rhode Island, Missouri, Kentucky and Nebraska.

“We plan to serve our fans on as many platforms and markets as our rights allow,” new CHSN president Jason Coyle said in a statement. Coyle has served in leadership positions in Chicago sports media for more than 20 years, most recently as president of the Stadium.

“As we set out to design the network, we started and ended every conversation with the simple question, ‘What’s best for our fans?’” Coyle said in the statement. “‘What is the best distribution approach? How can we push the boundaries of production both in-game and in the studio?’”

The Reinsdorf (White Sox/Bulls owner) and Wirtz (Blackhawks) families have always had a stake in local sports television. Before NBC Sports Chicago, the channel was originally known as SportsChannel, which was jointly owned by the families. However, the fate of NBC Sports Chicago or its employees remains up in the air. Hosts and broadcasters are employed by the team and not by the network.

“We thank the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks for their long and collaborative partnership on NBC Sports Chicago,” an NBC Sports Chicago spokesperson told Alias.com.

Local regional sports networks in a nasty fight

Throughout the season, local regional sports networks across the country face an uphill battle. Diamond Sports Group, which broadcasts 14 MLB teams, filed for bankruptcy last year and is apparently still hemorrhaging money. MLB sold a package to Roku to broadcast Sunday morning games for $10 million a year. Prior to the deal, Peacock had been paying $30 million per season for the same package. Roku, unlike Peacock, does not require a paid subscription. However, MLB’s reduced fee was seen by some officials as “daunting,” according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic.


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