OTTAWA, On. – It is official, Atlético Ottawa will be the eighth team in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) starting in 2020. An official announcement will be made on Feb. 11. This announcement will take place on Feb 11 at 6 pm according to OlderGoaler. OneSoccer, a streaming service revealed the big news:
“Canadian Premier League Awards First Expansion Team To Ottawa”
“The Canadian Premier League officially announced today that Ottawa, Ontario has been awarded a CPL Expansion Team – The league’s first, set to begin play in April 2020 at renowned TD Place in Ottawa, which sits on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Rideau Canal, The expansion bid was led by club Atletico De Madrid.”
“One of the most prominent brands in the global soccer market, Atletico is one of the giants of Europe while competing in one of the game’s best competitions, LaLiga.”
Atlético Ottawa is the eighth Canadian Premier League Team
OneSoccer shows a few soccer leagues around the world. This includes the Canadian Premier League (CPL). They also show live matches of the Canadian Men’s and Women’s national teams. Furthermore, Atlético Ottawa has been revealed to be the team name by Jeff Hunt on TSN Ottawa 1200.
Jeff Hunt’s Role with Atlético Ottawa
Hunt is the local man behind Atlético Ottawa, he will be the new president of the new Ottawa team according to TSN 1200. He revealed that he will be a major partner and be in charge of overseeing the business operations in Ottawa. He is a popular figure in Ottawa. Hunt was responsible for saving Ottawa’s junior hockey team in the ’90s and played a big role in bringing back a CFL team in Ottawa with the RedBlacks in 2014.
Hunt revealed how this team got together:
“Well, it was basically the match-maker in this was the CPL. They had been talking to Madrid for I think 8 months and when they got closer and got more interested in the Ottawa opportunity, especially when what happened with the Fury situation. They made it clear that they needed a local partner with a connection to the market. As you can imagine the markets of India, China, and Canada are very different.”
Hunt met with Atlético Madrid and said that they were a perfect match with each other. However, what was even more interesting was how Atlético Madrid got interested in the CPL.
Atlético Madrid’s Interest in the CPL – Atlético Ottawa
It was revealed in a sports business article by Bob Williams why Atlético Madrid got interested in the CPL. David Clanachan, president of the CPL revealed that MediaPro were the ones that got Atlético Madrid interested in the CPL:
“When Mediapro stepped up and said want to do this [partner with the CPL] they saw the diamond in the rough so to speak. They said they wanted to be partners…and they were the ones who introduced us to Atlético,” Clanachan said.
Atlético Madrid is in a similar position as the Toronto Maple Leafs in hockey. They cannot grow their fan base or brand in their local market. This is because the market of Madrid, the city where Atlético Madrid resides has already been tapped. They are now looking at growing their market in other cities or countries around the world like Canada and Ottawa.
“They want to be a global brand, they want to grow, they cannot grow anymore.”
Atlético Madrid was also interested in the business model of the CPL. This was a huge factor in Atlético investing in Canada.
“This CPL league was much more in aligning with what they are used to, European leagues like La Liga in Spain, and EPL in England, it is a model that they are used to.”
Lastly, and most importantly for Atlético Madrid was the deal the CPL made with MediaPro:
“A $200 million TV deal right off the bat.”
This TV deal allowed MediaPro to create OneSoccer. As previously stated OneSoccer is responsible for streaming all types of games in Canada and in the world including the CPL and Liga MX. TD Place Stadium also played a big role in Ottawa getting a CPL team. To read more on TD Place Stadium, Lansdowne Park and the increased competition in Ottawa read this previous article.
What this Means for Atlético Ottawa and Canada
Ottawa will have another pro soccer team after the Fury folded a few months ago. This will also be the first time Ottawa had a first-tier soccer team since 1990. This was when the Ottawa Intrepid played in the Canadian Soccer League. Lastly, this might mean Ottawa could be in the Canadian Championship in 2020. However, that is still up in the air as the Canadian Championship already released its schedule.
For the CPL, they can finally have a balanced schedule with an even number of eight teams. Also, the league for the first time in its short history will have a French component to the league. Although Ottawa’s first language is English, a large component of Ottawa speaks French and is, therefore, a bilingual city.
Lastly, for Canada, when including the three Major League Soccer (MLS) teams, they now have 11 first-tier pro soccer teams. This achievement has only been achieved once in 1990 when the old Canadian Soccer League used to exist. The only difference being that 1990 was the height of Canada’s first-tier professional soccer league. The league folded two years later in 1992.
However, for both Canada and the CPL this is just the beginning. There have been rumors of some foreign investors that might be interested in investing in the CPL. This includes Olympique Lyonnais, who are interested in Quebec City.
Other Foreign Investors Interested in the CPL
There have been a few rumors of potential European investors interested in investing in the CPL. This includes French’s first division Ligue 1, which is interested in having a team in Quebec City. This was revealed by Jeremy Filosa with an English translation of this tweet:
“Lyon would be interested in launching a similar project in Quebec.”
What was lost in the English translation of Jeremy’s tweet was “à Québec.” These words in the French language specifically talks about Quebec City, the capital city of Quebec. Many people are speculating that Quebec City could be the next CPL team in Canada after Ottawa.
However, Olympique Lyonnais may not be the only one. Duane Rollins reveals that a Serie A team in Italy is interested in the CPL.
“With Atleti in #CanPL and Lyon rumored to be looking to join I asked if it was a coincidence or if international investment would be the norm. I was told the league was talking to “several other groups,” and that Roma in particular had shown interest.”
One should not take for granted these big clubs wanting to invest in Canadian club soccer. Once a nation with no tier one pro soccer team from 1993-2006, Canada has come a long way. Hunt explains it best:
“A group of people in Madrid started a team in hockey, and it did well, but it did not last. And the Montreal Canadiens put a team in Madrid,” he continues “even if you do not know about the Montreal Canadiens, you know it is one of the best brands in hockey.”
Hunt on the TSN Ottawa 1200 show then relates this to Atlético Madrid and Ottawa: “This is one of the of the top 10 brands in professional soccer.”
These are exciting times for Ottawa and Canadian Soccer as the unveiling of the team will be on Feb. 11.