With the launch of the Canadian Premier League set for the end of April, the league has announced a partnership that will help bring the game to people across the country.
A 10-year official media partnership has been struck between Mediapro — a Spain-based sports broadcasting company — and Canadian Soccer Business.
The company, according to a source, will be investing $200 million into CPL over the 10-year deal.
Canadian Soccer Business represents the national men’s and women’s teams in Canada, League 1 in Ontario and CPL, which will host its inaugural game on April 27.
One of the CPL teams, Pacific FC, will be calling Langford’s Westhills Stadium home.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said the partnership is a “big deal” and will be a great opportunity for the City of Langford as well.
“This is a pretty large announcement because it just shows the strength of this new league,” Young said. “It puts us on the map.”
Young said Langford is fortunate to be one of the seven cities that has a CPL soccer club. He said it will be a good opportunity for youths in Langford as well.
“Now they can look forward to an opportunity…they can aspire to be a professional soccer player in Langford,” Young said. “It’s a great opportunity for our local youths in the region to be able to play in our hometown.”
Young said the city is already providing Olympic-level recreation opportunities through rugby, golf, tennis, boxing and a climbing wall that will be going up soon. Due to this, he said Langford residents can expect to see a lot more activity in the Westhills area.
The stadium will be ready for the first game, Young said, but won’t be 100 per cent complete by April. The first game will be able to seat about 5,000 people, with phase two of the stadium projected to be complete by August.
“Our goal is just to make sure we’re prepared to host the first game and make sure that the experience for the fans is going to be amazing out there,” Young said. “We know we’re under the gun for sure but it doesn’t matter, we’ll make it happen.”
Mediapro will have global and domestic media rights to the CPL, the Canadian Championship, home games of the Canadian men’s and women’s teams and League 1 Ontario matches. The company will launch a channel in Canada that will be made available on all platforms and devices.
The company has been involved in the production of 16 national soccer competitions throughout Europe and produces events for the UEFA Champion’s League, FIFA Confederations Cup, FIBA, Euroleague, FIFA World Cup, the Arab Games, the Africa Cup of Nations and Formula 1.
Media Pro also manages rights to LaLiga Santander in Spain and France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 starting in 2020 for one year.
Young said it’s “historic” that a large company like Mediapro is recognizing soccer in Canada.
“Smaller countries are so far ahead of us when it comes to soccer…here’s a great opportunity for us,” Young said. “Soccer’s going to be big in Canada, Canadians just don’t know it yet.”
– With files from Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press