<
>

Wrigley renovation, TV deal on tap this offseason for Cubs

ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers takes a look at the biggest storylines facing the Chicago Cubs during the offseason.

These aren't on-the-field storylines, but the renovation of historic Wrigley Field and where 70 Cubs games will air on television next season are things to track this winter.

The biggest news will happen when the club's first video scoreboard is erected. The plan is for it to be ready for the start of the 2015 season. Watching slow-motion replays at Wrigley Field will be a new fan experience and, with video-replay challenges now available to managers, paying customers will get to see the same angles the umpires are looking at in real time.

That's some consolation for Wrigley traditionalists, even the old-school stalwarts who don't want to see a video scoreboard. The only question is how much the board will actually block the views from the surrounding rooftops. We'll finally get the answer on an issue that has caused acrimony between the Cubs and rooftop owners.

The other major changes to Wrigley, including a new clubhouse and moving the bullpens under the bleachers, will take place in coming offseasons, but as of now, Wrigley Field's 100-year makeover has started.

Meanwhile, a new -- albeit probably temporary -- television home for games that were formerly on WGN-TV is still a work in progress. The Cubs say they are in "extra innings" in figuring out where they will air those 70 games after opting out of their deal with the station that has carried them for 66 years. Comcast SportsNet, home to the other 92 games, can't accommodate the additional coverage, and the Cubs simply haven't negotiated a deal to their -- or a station's -- liking just yet. Ratings have gone down during the on-field rebuilding, and that has affected TV revenues. The Cubs are currently not the hot product they once were.

The team could still return to WGN-TV, but one way or another, it's a short-term proposition. They plan on cashing in on their television rights by the time their deal with Comcast is up after the 2019 season. Until then, they might just have to get by wherever they can.