Landmark bilingual, local rights agreement will make ESPN+ the Chicago home for live coverage of the Fire
CHICAGO (March 9, 2018) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today that ESPN has become the club’s exclusive media rights holder, executing a three-year rights agreement. ESPN+, the upcoming direct-to-consumer subscription streaming product from ESPN and BAMTECH Media, will be the home for live local coverage of Fire matches in both English and Spanish beginning this season.
ESPN+ will have exclusive coverage of 27 Fire matches in 2018. Because ESPN+ will also be the exclusive home for all MLS LIVE out-of-market matches after it launches, Fire fans – both in Chicago and around the country – will be able to watch all 27 ESPN+ matches anywhere in the US. The Fire’s other seven regular season games will be televised nationally on ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision.
“The partnership between ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, and our storied club is a powerful combination,” said Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “Our fans will receive top-quality streaming and production, available anytime, anywhere and across any devices.”
Burke Magnus, Executive Vice President, Programming, ESPN added “This is an exciting agreement that highlights ESPN’s constant dedication to connecting fans with the sports, teams and leagues that they love through new and innovative ways. ESPN+ will offer Fire fans an amazing value, delivering great live, local coverage alongside thousands of other live sporting events.”
Fire fans will enjoy free access to matches until the launch of ESPN+ this spring. During the free access period, MLS LIVE is available for fans at LIVE.MLSsoccer.com and on the MLS Mobile App, Apple TV and Roku, and will provide fans the opportunity to stream up to eight (8) Fire and out-of-market matches each week.
Following the spring launch of ESPN+, Fire games will be available exclusively on ESPN+ as part of the $4.99 monthly subscription. Subscribers will have access to all ESPN+ programming, including the Fire, as well as hundreds of out-of-market MLS matches and thousands of other sporting events and shows.
ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club was founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, and celebrated its 20th season in Major League Soccer in 2017. The Fire have won six major domestic championship titles, including the 1998 MLS Cup and 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, as well as the 2003 Supporters Shield. The Club’s charitable arm, the Chicago Fire Foundation, was recognized as 2016 Beyond Sport Team of the Year and 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Sport Team of the Year. As part of the national It’s Everyone’s Game campaign, the Fire have committed to assist in the construction of 50 mini-pitches in underserved neighborhoods throughout the Chicagoland area in the next five years. Anchoring Chicago’s growing soccer fan base, the Fire play their home games at 20,000-seat Toyota Park in nearby Bridgeview, Ill. www.Chicago-Fire.com.
ESPN+, launching in Spring 2018, will be ESPN’s first-ever multisport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service. For just $4.99 a month, subscribers will receive thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. This includes MLB, NHL and MLS games, college sports, boxing, golf, tennis, international rugby, cricket, the entire library of award-winning 30 for 30 documentaries and more.
Fans will access ESPN+ as an integrated part of a completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App will give sports fans an unmatched, one-stop digital sports platform that provides easy, dynamic access to everything ESPN offers, anytime, anywhere across mobile and OTT platforms. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App will curate all of ESPN’s incredible content into a content experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes.