Crain’s Headlines: TV Ratings Show Drop in Cubs’ Popularity


The lovable losers aren’t as popular as they used to be — at least if TV ratings are any guide.

Two back-to-back end-of-season collapses helped drive down TV ratings for the 2019 season. The team’s ratings dropped to a 4.13 local share from 4.38 in 2018, representing a 5.7% dip year-over-year in Chicago viewership.

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That’s according to AC Nielsen data obtained Wednesday by Crain’s. The 2019 ratings are the lowest the team has seen since 2017.

The question now is whether declining viewership and disappointing on-field performance will complicate the Cubs’ efforts to launch a new and exclusive Cubs-centric TV channel. Negotiations over the new cable outlet, which is expected to debut in February, remain ongoing.

In other Chicago business news:

Roosevelt University and Robert Morris University say they intend to merge, a move that could shore up the two small private schools at a time when institutions in that sector are facing intense financial pressure.

If the deal goes through, the Roosevelt University name would be preserved. And the 1,800 students now enrolled at Robert Morris University would be added to Roosevelt’s approximately 3,600 student roster.

And finally, Chicago real estate developer Sterling Bay is picking up another property near its planned Lincoln Yards megaproject. The acquisition of the old C.H. Robinson office building at 1840 N. Marcey St. for an undisclosed amount means Sterling Bay is upping its bet on the future of the Chicago River’s North Branch between Lincoln Park and Bucktown.


Crain’s Headlines is a joint production between WTTW and Crain’s Chicago Business. It airs every Monday through Thursday on the WTTW News program “Chicago Tonight.” 


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