http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/co ... olumn.html
This year's good timing award goes to ABC-7 and WBBM-AM 780.
In December, ABC-7 signed on for a five-year package of Cubs games despite the team's TV ratings sinking to historic lows in 2014. John Idler, the station's president and general manager, figured the ratings would rise dramatically at some point. He didn't, however, expect to hit the jackpot this year.
"The timeline has been accelerated," Idler said. "The (2015) ratings definitely have exceeded our expectations."
The Cubs turnaround has confirmed what everyone thought: They were a sleeping giant on the ratings front.
Through Wednesday, Comcast SportsNet was averaging a 3.2 rating for Cubs games, up dramatically from 1.50 in 2014; 1 local ratings point is worth an estimated 35,000 homes. WGN-9 is averaging a 4.7 for its Cubs telecasts, more than double from last year. ABC-7 is doing a 4.5 rating for the 22 Cubs games it has aired.
Those numbers don't even tell the whole story. The ratings have exploded with the Cubs' surge since the All-Star break.
ABC-7 averaged a 7.9 rating between 7-8:15 p.m. for the Cubs-Tigers game on Aug. 18 before a long rain delay halted play. WGN-9 peaked with a 7.3 rating for the Cubs-Brewers game on Aug. 12. CSN posted its highest-rated Cubs game in six years with a 5.1 rating for the game against the Brewers on Aug. 11.
CSN, WGN-9, and ABC-7 are gearing up for even bigger ratings with the Cubs actually playing meaningful games in September. Knowing the team's history, Bedella felt a bit sheepish in talking about a recent staff meeting about coverage plans if the Cubs clinch a playoff berth.
"We don't want to jinx anything, but it's something we have to do," Bedella said. "We said, 'When was the last time we had any discussions about the Cubs and the playoffs?' It's been a long time. It feels great to have that kind of conversation."