Chicago Fire fans will have a new option to watch matches in 2021. The club today announced the creation of “CFFC Live,” a free streaming platform.
Starting with the home opener against the New England Revolution (Saturday, April 17, 7:30 p.m. CT), all locally-televised matches on WGN-TV will also air for free on the Chicago Fire’s website and mobile app. The same feed and call will appear on both WGN and the online stream.
After years on pay cable and subscription streaming, it means Fire games will now be easier to watch than ever before. Thirty-two of the 34 regular season games will be available on both over-the-air WGN-TV and CFFC Live, and the remaining two (May 22 against Inter Miami and Aug. 1 against the Philadelphia Union) are both on UniMas, which is available over-the-air for most fans. It means local fans should be able to see every Fire regular season match for free this season.
“Today’s announcement is about providing our fans in Chicago with maximum flexibility when it comes to watching Fire matches,” said Fire Senior Vice President, Communications and Media Sean Dennison.
Per league rules, fans who live out of the Chicago designated market area (DMA) will still be able to stream Fire matches on ESPN+ via the MLS out-of-market package.
The Fire’s deal to stream matches locally on ESPN+ ran out after last season. The Fire likely could have signed another deal with a subscription streaming service. But, this move allows as many people to sample Fire games as possible, something that will surely help the team find new fans.
Unlike last year, there will not be extra pre- and post-game coverage on the stream. Instead, fans can expect more analysis on the Fire’s social channels featuring the club’s broadcast team. There should be more news coming on the 2021 broadcast team soon.