OTT & Digital

Chicago Fire ink local media rights deal with ESPN

MLS team’s games to be streamed on broadcaster’s new ESPN Plus OTT service.

by Sam Carp

Chicago Fire ink local media rights deal with ESPN

The Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS) have announced a three-year exclusive local media rights deal with sports broadcasting giant ESPN.

Starting this season, the deal means that ESPN Plus, the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service due to be launched by ESPN this spring, will be the home for live local coverage of the Illinois-based franchise’s matches in both English and Spanish.

The rights package will give ESPN Plus exclusive coverage of 27 Fire games during the 2018 campaign. The OTT platform has also secured exclusive rights for all MLS live out-of-market matches when it launches, meaning Fire fans will be able to watch all 27 ESPN Plus matches anywhere in the US.

“The partnership between ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, and our storied club is a powerful combination,” said Chicago Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “Our fans will receive top-quality streaming and production, available anytime, anywhere and across any devices.”

“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 new ways,” added Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming. “ESPN Plus will offer Fire fans an amazing value, delivering great live, local coverage alongside thousands of other live sporting events.”

Chicago Fire lost 4-3 at home to Sporting Kansas City in their opening game of the 2018 MLS season. They travel to play Minnesota United in their next fixture on 17th March.