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Cubs’ new network to include teams from outside Chicago?

Crane Kenney

The Cubs’ planned Marquee Network they expect to launch in time for spring training next year could include broadcasting games from other teams, after all, the team’s business president, Crane Kenney, said Saturday.

“There might be other teams involved; they’re not local teams,” said Kenney, who offered few details about the network during his Cubs Convention session and later to reporters afterward – but promised more details within the next few weeks.

The Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks all committed to sticking with NBC Sports Chicago when that network’s contracts with those three and the Cubs expire in 2019 – freeing the Cubs to start their long-planned solo act.

The Sun-Times reported last month the Cubs have partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group on the venture, which is to feature expanded streaming availability for Cubs games.

Kenney declined to identify the potential teams that could join the Cubs on their new network.

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The Cubs have shown interest in the past year in buying a professional soccer team, including a brief look into financially troubled European professional team A.C. Milan last year.

The Yankees’ YES Network has an agreement with one of New York’s MLS teams and carries Manchester City’s English Premier games.

Make 44th Ward Great Again?

The Cubs’ well publicized efforts to challenge Wrigleyville’s Ald. Tom Tunney in next month’s city elections took a strange turn Saturday when Kenney invited club executive Julian Green to the stage during the annual business operations session in what turned out to be a four-minute stump speech against Tunney.

Aside from the question of how many of those in attendance actually even are eligible to vote in that election, one fan drew applause later in the event when he complained about the session’s political moment.

“It just was uncomfortable kind of being lectured about who you think we should be voting for in these elections,” the fan said.

The Ricketts family ownership has considered Tunney a thorn in their efforts to schedule events and make changes to the ballpark since buying the Cubs in 2009.

“Not everyone in the room liked everything we said,” said Kenney, who added he decided to raise the subject during the event “because I get a ton of email on it. I get a ton of people [asking] why are you guys doing this? Why are you guys so interested in politics?

“The Cubs would only like to be treated like anyone else, and no better and no worse.”