Public broadcaster WTTW to produce WNBA home games

The station will produce the games and sell advertising in the form of underwriting.
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Chicago public broadcaster WTTW announced Tuesday that it will be the exclusive broadcaster for at least eight home games of the city’s new WNBA franchise, the Chicago Sky. According to station spokesperson Holly Gilson, WTTW was awarded the broadcast rights for three years beginning with the 2006 season.

The station will solicit underwriters for the games in partnership with the team. There will be no commercial breaks during the game. Rather, the traditional public broadcasting underwriting messaging will appear before the presentation of the games. Some of the team’s early supporters, such as LaSalle Bank and Commonwealth Edison, also underwrite programming on WTTW and may be early underwriters of the games, she said. Revenue from the underwriting effort will be split with the team, and the station is simply hoping to defray production costs, Gilson said.

At this point, the details about the station’s production of the games are unclear; however, the WTTW does plan to hire an outside mobile teleproduction facility vendor in the Chicago area for the games, she said.

The station, which has dipped its toe in sports production and presentation with coverage of select Chicago high school basketball games over the past couple of years, is looking “to promote academics and teamwork for young women” with its coverage of the team, she said.

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