Does new TV deal mean big things for Chicago’s WNBA team?

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Sky rookie Elena Delle Donne (center) sits with teammate Epiphanny Prince at pre-season game. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Lately, I’ve been following the Chicago Sky’s business operation as the women’s basketball team gears up for its eighth season, which opens the last week of May.

It’s been interesting to poke around inside a major league team that’s still in relative infancy. Sure, readers (and editors) care more about the Bulls, but it’s easy to forget that the NBA wasn’t always a behemoth.

Until the mid-80s, the NBA playoffs regularly aired on late-night tape delay, to free up prime time for more popular programming.

You know, stuff like the All In The Family spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place.

On 11 o’clock news broadcasts of the era, the anchors sometimes gave spoiler alerts before announcing NBA playoff results. If you planned to watch the replay later that night, you’d have to cover your ears or leave the room to avoid ruining the game.

Big things have to start somewhere. This morning on the Sun-Times‘ business news site, I reported on the Sky’s new broadcast TV contract, which moves their games off of subscription-only cable and onto the broadcast airwaves:

In a five-season deal, Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting Co. will air the women’s basketball games on local stations WCIU and The U Too. Weigel will broadcast 24 Sky games this year — two on WCIU and 22 on The U Too — starting with the May 31 home opener at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Sky games previously aired on cable channel CN100.

Read the full story on Grid

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