Bears radio broadcasts moving to ESPN 1000 next season

The Sun-Times reported in August that the Bears would leave WBBM-AM (780) after this season and that ESPN 1000 was in the running to acquire the team’s rights. The team’s local TV rights might be on the move, as well.

SHARE Bears radio broadcasts moving to ESPN 1000 next season
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ESPN 1000 announced Tuesday that it will be the new home for Bears radio broadcasts beginning next season. The Sun-Times reported in August that the Bears would leave WBBM-AM (780) after this season and that ESPN 1000 was in the running to acquire the team’s rights.

Good Karma Brands’ ESPN 1000 got back into local sports rights with the White Sox in 2021. It had been without a pro team since losing the Bulls in 2016, though it had aired Notre Dame football and UIC men’s basketball. ESPN 1000 has never carried Bears games.

“The Chicago Bears are a best-in-class organization, and we are excited to partner with a charter franchise of the NFL,” said Keith Williams, ESPN 1000 market manager and senior vice president at Good Karma Brands. “We are dedicated to delivering a top-notch broadcast for our partners and fans around the Midwest and the world. Our teammates are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get started and execute at the highest level.”

Said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips: “We were incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm shown by the leadership team at Good Karma Brands. Their plan for presenting Bears football on the radio is first class, and we know that ESPN 1000 will be an excellent home for our games and a hub for Bears talk year-round. We look forward to working with the station beginning in 2023.”

The Bears’ local TV rights might be on the move, as well. The team’s agreement with Fox-32 expires after this season, their 15th together, and will be up for bid. Those rights include airing preseason games and weekly shows during the regular season, such as pregame and postgame shows.

Possible landing spots include WGN-Ch. 9 and Marquee Sports Network. WGN has carried the Bears and produced its own pregame show when games have appeared nationally on ESPN. The station carried the game Oct. 24 at New England. Marquee is a broadcast partner with the Bears, airing the weekly show “Bear Essentials.”

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