Fire

NBC Sports retains rights to Premier League through 2021-22

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NBC Sports retains rights to Premier League through 2021-22

NBC Sports Group inked a six-year extension to retain its rights to English Premier League coverage on Monday.

All 380 matches will be available on multiple platforms - NBCUniversal’s NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, TELEMUNDO and NBC UNIVERSO linear channels, as well as the Premier League Extra Time TV package and live stream on NBC Sports Live Extra - through 2021-22.

The deal - which will go into effect in 2016-17 - comes on the heels of two successful years in which an average record of 479,000 viewers tuned in to NBC and NBCSN last season - up 41,000 viewers from the 2013-14 campaign, according to a press release.

[NBC SHOP: Buy a Fire jersey here]  

“We are excited to continue our tremendous partnership with the Premier League, and we look forward to presenting the world’s finest soccer league to Americans for many years to come,” NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said in a statement. “As sports fans, there’s nothing better than waking up on a weekend morning to live and relevant events, and we at NBC Sports are thrilled to continue to be this outlet for the fast-growing Premier League fan base.” 

Fox and beIN Sports were the other suitors linked to striking a bargain with the Premier League, but NBC - currently in the final season of a three-year, $250 million deal - pounced on the prize. The financial details of the contract extension have not yet been disclosed.

“NBC Sports has done a fantastic job broadcasting the Barclays Premier League for the last two seasons and we are extremely pleased that they have invested in our US rights for seasons 2016-17 to 2021-22,” said Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore. “Outstanding production, expert analysis, and wide audience reach have all been beyond expectations.”

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

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USA TODAY

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.

The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.

Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.

At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.

Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.