With the Blackhawks exiting over-the-air television, Wolves step up in a big way
Looking for some local sports on broadcast television this season? Don’t worry, the Chicago Wolves got you covered.
The AHL team announced Monday a partnership with Fox-owned WPWR (My50) to televise 40 regular-season games for the 2019-20 season, the most games ever carried by the station. In the past, games were split between WPWR and Weigel’s former U Too outlet (WCIU/WCUU-Ch. 26.2/48.1.) WPWR has carried Saturday night Wolves games since 2016.
“WPWR-TV “My50” is proud to be the exclusive home for all Chicago Wolves televised games,” said Dennis Welsh, GM of Fox-owned WPWR and sister station WFLD. “By exclusively airing 40 Wolves games on My50, we will bring Chicagoland sports fans more free over-the-air games than any other sports team in town. Coming off last season’s playoff run, we look forward to watching the Wolves drive to win the Calder Cup.”
The Wolves went to the Calder Cup finals in June, but lost to the Charlotte Checkers in five. All games were carried by The U Too, who rebranded to “The U” last September, the former branding of WCIU’s main channel.
“Our march to the Calder Cup Finals last year has the demand for Chicago Wolves hockey soaring,” said Wolves senior vice president Jon Sata. “Our fans want tickets and they want to be able to watch our games at home as well. We’re thrilled to call My50 Chicago the home for Chicago Wolves broadcasts this season!”
The move comes on the heels of numerous changes in the Chicago market. With WPWR freed of commitments from The CW as the network shifted programming to WCIU (now CW 26) on September 1, it leaves WPWR free to carry Wolves games as since 2009, My Network TV is a programming service carrying off-network programming and is not rated by Nielsen (individual shows are ranked in Nielsen’s weekly syndicated reports.) Programming is flexible enough for My Network TV affiliates to program as they see fit.
At the same time The CW moved to WCIU, WPWR reverted back to its My50 branding used from 2006 to 2016, when it became “CW 50”.
Second, Chicago’s non-NFL sports teams – including the Chicago Blackhawks – have departed WGN-TV for exclusive deals with cable, leaving the field wide open for the Wolves, now with more over-the-air games than any sports team in town. In 1995, the Wolves put a package of Saturday night games on WCIU at a time the Blackhawks had no over-the-air deal and did not televise almost all home games, a longtime policy ending in 2008 when the team struck an over-the-air deal with WGN.
With all Blackhawks games on either NBC sports Chicago or NBCSN – and with NBC declining to pick up any games to broadcast for its Game Of The Week, there are no over-the-air contests scheduled this season, unless they make the playoffs.
The first game televised on WPWR/My50 comes Saturday Oct. 5 when the Wolves host the Grand Rapids Griffins at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena.