MLB Baseball

Cubs to launch their own sports network

(AP Photo/Matt Marton)

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs are launching their own sports network.

President of business operations Crane Kenney said the team hopes to have it running in time for spring training next year.

"You'll have a Cubs channel," he said at the team's annual fan convention on Saturday. "We'll launch in 2020."

Kenney said the Cubs will have a "strategic partner," though he wouldn't reveal any names, and teams from outside Chicago could be involved with the network. He said more details likely will be released in the next month.

"We have a really good sense of who our partner is," he said. "We're involved in a multidimensional negotiation. It's not just us and a partner. It's us, our partner and multiple others. There's just some moving details."

The Cubs have been partners with the White Sox, NBA's Bulls, NHL's Blackhawks and NBC Sports Chicago - formerly Comcast SportsNet Chicago - since 2004. That deal expires this year.

The other three teams announced a multiyear contract with NBC Sports Chicago this month.

Kenney also said Saturday the Cubs remain interested in hosting an All-Star game. A multiyear renovation of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area is in the latter stages. And the organization will "be back in front of Major League (Baseball)" this year.

"We want the All-Star game," Kenney said. "What (commissioner) Rob (Manfred) has done that's different from Bud (Selig) is you've got to earn it. ... It's such a big economic driver for these cities. The city has to come in and make a pitch as to why we deserve it in Chicago."

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Updated January 19, 2019

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