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Volume 26 No. 174
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Soccer Media Notes: Fire Exploring Local Broadcast Options For '20

In Chicago, Brian Sandalow noted the Fire still have one year left on their ESPN+ deal, but the club is "exploring options for the upcoming season for a more traditional local broadcast that would go with the streaming service." Fire Owner Joe Mansueto said, "We're talking to a number of outlets, and we hope to get something done. But there are no guarantees." Mansueto said that the Fire are "talking to the 'major' broadcast TV outlets in the area." Mansueto: "If you're a broadcast outlet and we haven't reached out to you, please reach out to us and we'll talk to you about it" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/12).

TRYING SOMETHING NEW: THE ATHLETIC's Tenorio & Stejskal noted for the "first time in its history," MLS on Thursday "conducted its annual college draft remotely." In lieu of a public draft, teams instead "made their first- and second-round selections from their respective headquarters." ESPN and the league "peeked into the war rooms of individual clubs for their Twitter broadcast of the event," which concluded yesterday with the third and fourth rounds. For the most part, the new SuperDraft format was "pretty streamlined," which is "fitting." The draft had "declined in importance over the last decade" and the "in-person production felt a bit overdone" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/10).

SWITCHING PLATFORMS: ESPN+ is "adding Spain's Copa del Rey to its U.S. soccer properties." The Copa del Rey "had been televised by BeIN Sport, except for the final, which has been on ESPN." ESPN+ said that it "expects to stream up to 65 Copa del Rey matches per season" (AP, 1/11).