Jun 3, 2024 - Business

Chicago sports teams change television networks

Photo of a roof of a stadium and a skyline

An aerial photo of the United Center taken with a drone in 2021. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox will move to a new television and streaming network this fall.

The big picture: The move will shift team broadcasts from the NBC Sports Chicago channel to a new team-owned service that will broadcast from the United Center and Guaranteed Rate Field.

Zoom in: The Chicago Sports Network (CHSN) will be owned by the three teams and national provider Standard Media. Standard is run out of Nashville and owns four stations located in Rhode Island, Missouri, Kentucky and Nebraska.

What they're saying: "We plan to serve our fans on as many platforms and in as many markets as our rights allow," new CHSN president Jason Coyle said in a statement.

Flashback: The Reinsdorf (White Sox/Bulls owner) and the Wirtz families (Blackhawks owner) have always had a stake in local sports television. Before NBC Sports Chicago, the channel was originally known as SportsChannel, which was co-owned by the two families.

The intrigue: The fate of NBC Sports Chicago or its employees is unclear. The hosts and broadcasters are employed by the team, not the network.

  • "We thank the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks for the long and collaborative partnership on NBC Sports Chicago," a NBC Sports Chicago spokesperson tells Axios.

Between the lines: CHSN already has cable distributors lined up and will be available via free, over-the-air broadcast.

  • Standard doesn't offer a separate stream-only option.

Zoom out: Local regional sports networks around the country are struggling. Diamond Sports Group, which broadcasts 14 MLB teams, filed for bankruptcy last year and is reportedly still hemorrhaging money.

What's next: The new network will debut in October.


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