The Chicago Fire are back on local TV. The team announced today a multi-year deal that will make WGN-TV the home for all locally broadcast Fire home and away matches this season and beyond.
Of the Fire’s 34 MLS regular season matches, all 24 local broadcasts will be carried on WGN, with 18 matches in prime time. (Additionally, 10 Fire games will air on national broadcasts across ABC, ESPN, FS1, Univision and UniMás).
This broadcast deal is in addition to the Fire’s partnership with ESPN+, which is in its final year. Every locally broadcast match this season will air on both WGN and ESPN+.
On WGN, the matches will have a two-hour window, so basically enough time for the game itself. On ESPN+ it’s a 2.5 hour window, so there will continue to be a pre-game and post-game show on the streaming service.
The club tells Hot Time in Old Town the new TV broadcast crew will be announced at a later date. Longtime play-by-play announcer Dan Kelly isn’t coming back, and color commentator Frank Klopas is now an assistant coach with the club.
WGN-TV’s regular season schedule will begin with Chicago Fire at New England Revolution on Saturday, March 7 at 12:30 p.m. CT.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a special report: pic.twitter.com/5pV1eU5jFi— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) February 19, 2020
“In this transformational year for our club, we want to provide our fans with as many ways as possible to experience the Fire, both live at Soldier Field and on the broadcast,” new Fire owner Joe Mansueto said in a news release. “We know WGN-TV’s powerful place on the City’s sports scene and we’re excited to be their new flagship sports property.”
WGN is committed to more Fire coverage, as well. On March 20, WGN-TV will premiere “Chicago Fire FC: Homecoming,” an all-access special chronicling the club’s changes during the offseason as well as an exclusive preview of its return to Soldier Field for the home opener on March 21 versus Atlanta United.
In April, WGN-TV will debut an exclusive monthly series that will deliver unprecedented access to the team, featuring interviews and profiles of players, coaches and fans.