Chicago Fire, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Agree to Multi-year Broadcasting Deal
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Comcast SportsNet Chicago signed a three-year, regional rights broadcasting agreement for all of the Fire’s Major League Soccer matches beginning this season. CSN Chicago will carry 21 Fire games in 2015, beginning with the home opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Comcast SportsNet’s match day coverage for all Fire games will include a live, 30-minute pre-game show, along with enhanced coverage on the network’s nightly sports news desk, SportsNet Central, which will include post-game reaction from Fire players and head coach Frank Yallop. Channel assignments for all Fire telecasts will be determined at a later date.
In addition, the Fire and Comcast SportsNet will begin enhanced digital-platform collaboration starting this season via content sharing on CSNChicago.com and Chicago-Fire.com, showcasing original video features, game highlights, special behind-the-scenes access, and numerous editorial pieces. Plus, CSNChicago.com will also feature MLS and international soccer coverage via NBCSports.com’s “ProSoccerTalk” page.
“Over the past several seasons, we’ve seen significant growth in our game broadcasts,” said Fire COO Atul Khosla. “Through destination programming and a comprehensive content development strategy, appropriately positioned among the biggest sports properties in the city on CSN Chicago, we are poised for continued growth. We couldn’t be more excited.”
“The Chicago Fire has certainly made an impact not only in terms of growth of their fan base over the past several years, but also in their devoted impact in our community,” added Phil Bedella, Vice President/General Manager for Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “We are proud to be the regional television home for the Fire and fans can count on us to deliver expert game coverage, along with enhanced digital coverage, beginning this season.”
Back in the broadcast booth are play-by-play announcer Dan Kelly, returning for his sixth season, and color analyst Kevin Egan, who is back for his third season.
Kelly, a native of St. Louis, called play-by-play for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks on Comcast SportsNet from 2006-2008. In addition, Kelly has done play-by-play for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Big Ten Network (including men’s and women’s college soccer for six years), as well as both the men’s and women’s Big Ten Tournament, University of Denver men’s hockey and for MLS games on HDNet.
Egan is a television sports journalist from Dublin, Ireland, who has covered soccer at the highest level. After working for RTE (Ireland’s National Broadcaster) for five years, Egan moved to Chicago in 2009 and began working for the Big Ten Network. At BTN, Egan commentates on Big Ten soccer matches, while also presenting BTN Soccer Report, an online show covering the game within Big Ten country.
The broadcast partnership will actively begin with CSN Chicago serving as a media partner at the Club’s Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, March 2 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.