CHICAGO (June 24, 2020) – Chicago Fire FC announced today its schedule and broadcast details for the MLS is Back Tournament. The Fire will begin the tournament against Nashville SC on Wednesday, July 8, at 9:30 p.m. CT, as part of a doubleheader on the opening day of the event. The match will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Following the match against Nashville, Chicago will resume play in Group A six days later, taking on Inter Miami CF at 8:00 a.m. CT on Tuesday, July 14 (ESPN and ESPN Deportes). Five days later, the Fire will play its final group stage match against New York City FC at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 19 (FS1 and TUDN).
In addition to the schedule announcement, MLS today confirmed a change to the tournament’s competition structure. The top three teams from Group A, the six-team group that includes Chicago Fire FC, will advance to the Knockout Stage presented by Audi. Those three teams will be joined by the top two teams from the remaining five groups, as well as the next three highest ranked teams from the Group Stage presented by Heineken (the fourth-placed team in Group A is eligible to advance) based on points, goal difference, goals for, fair play points.
The Group Stage presented by Heineken will consist of 16 consecutive days of games with each MLS club playing three matches against teams within their drawn groups. All group stage match results will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings, as well as toward qualification to the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi.
The tournament will continue in the Knockout Stage presented by Audi with eight Round-of-16 matches, played as doubleheaders on four consecutive evenings (July 25-28), followed by four quarterfinal matches (July 30-Aug 1), two semifinal games (Aug. 5-6) and the MLS is Back Tournament Final on August 11 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and ESPN Deportes). The tournament champion will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
- CLICK HERE for the complete MLS is Back Tournament Broadcast Schedule.
ESPN will oversee game production services for MLS broadcast partners throughout the tournament, delivering produced feeds of all matches to FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports and the league’s international broadcast networks. Each broadcast partner will use their own on-air talent to call the games and produce their own graphics packages for use during telecasts. The MLS is Back Tournament on television will feature unique and experimental technology to enhance the production. More details on the production enhancements will be announced prior to the start of the tournament.
FOX Sports’ coverage of the MLS is Back Tournament will kick off on the FOX Broadcast Network, as the national over-the-air network will feature Atlanta United taking on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. ET.
The Univision family of networks will bring fans in-depth coverage of 19 of the 39 total matches in the Group Stage presented by Heineken, including two matches featuring the LA Galaxy and Mexican National Team star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Matches not aired by an English-language network will be streamed live in English on Twitter.
In Canada, TSN will air all 54 matches of the MLS is Back Tournament in English including in-depth coverage of all Canadian club matches. TVA Sports will bring fans French-language coverage of all Montreal Impact matches throughout the tournament as well as select additional matches. The TSN and TVA Sports schedules will be highlighted by the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC rivalry match in the Group Stage presented by Heineken on July 15 (8 p.m. ET).
A partner since the league’s inaugural season, ESPN networks will televise a combined 28 matches, bring fans in the U.S. both English- and Spanish-language coverage of Major League Soccer’s return to play - from the first meeting of the two Florida clubs to kick off the tournament on July 8, all the way through the MLS is Back Tournament Final on Aug. 11 (8 p.m. ET). All ESPN matches will also be streamed live on the ESPN App.
- CLICK HERE for the MLS is Back Tournament Competition Guidelines.
As part of the preparations for the tournament, MLS clubs begin arriving today at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The resort sits just 3.5 miles from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where all 26 MLS teams will train for and compete in the MLS is Back Tournament.