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TMCNet:  Crane Kenney staying with Cubs following sale to Ricketts family

[August 26, 2009]

Crane Kenney staying with Cubs following sale to Ricketts family

CHICAGO, Aug 26, 2009 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) -- Crane Kenney will continue with the Cubs after the sale to the Ricketts family is completed, and WGN-Ch. 9 will continue as the primary over-the-air broadcaster of Cubs games.

According to the court documents filed by Tribune Co., "the contract of the chairman of the Cubs is being modified and assumed in connection with consummation of the formation agreement." That means Kenney is back, but for how long and what role he will assume with the club is not spelled out.

Kenney was unavailable for comment, and a Tribune Co. spokesperson declined to comment.

The contract also says the Cubs will continue to broadcast games on WGN through 2022, though the Cubs are likely to shift more games to Comcast SportsNet.

"WGN-TV will continue as the local broadcast station as we have for the past 60-plus seasons with the Chicago Cubs," said Marty Wilke, vice president and general manager of WGN-TV. "We're looking forward to getting to know and working closely with the new owners, the Ricketts family, and continuing our broadcast of the Cubs games on WGN-TV for many years to come." The Ricketts also received 25 percent of CSN in the deal to buy the Cubs and Wrigley Field. In spring training last March, Kenney told reporters that cable is the future of the Cubs.

"One of the more controversial things we did when we launched Comcast, we started moving more games to cable," he said. "Cable has two forms of revenue: subscription revenue and advertising. WGN only has advertising revenue. The cable programmers can pay you more for your games.

"We look at penetration rate for over-the-air television versus cable. I think it's over 90 percent of the homes in one form or another, have satellite or cable distribution. So they can get the games. So I think it is a way of the future. If you look at the number of games we have over-the-air television compared to anyone else, do you know how many over-the-air television the Red Sox have? Zero. We are an outlier having this many games on over-the-air television." ___ (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.

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