Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan has revealed that Spanish media company Mediapro played a key role in LaLiga giants Atlético Madrid securing the rights to an expansion team in Ottawa.
Atlético Ottawa, as the team is expected to be named, is due to begin play in April 2020 at TD Place, the home of Canadian Football League team Ottawa Redblacks. Ottawa businessman Jeff Hunt, a part-owner of the Redblacks, will serve as a strategical partner for the team. An official unveiling is scheduled to take place at TD Place on February 12.
Speaking on the Footy Prime podcast, Clanachan revealed that it was CPL’s long-term media partner Mediapro who introduced Atlético to the league, which sparked expansion talks.
“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.
“It wasn’t anything other than, ‘they want to get to know you.’ Atlético were intrigued with a whiteboard [of Canadian soccer]. We don’t have 100 years of history…As they stepped in and started watching, they were more and more intrigued by how we were doing things. Eventually it turned into, ‘we want to get involved in the league’. And not once did they say they wanted to change the rules, they were all-in,” he said.
In February 2019, Mediapro signed a 10-year broadcast deal with Canadian Soccer Business, a commercial entity made in partnership between the CPL and the Canadian Soccer Association, which covers all Canadian soccer. This includes the CPL; men’s and women’s national team home games, including all youth levels; the Canadian Championship club competition; and League1 Ontario, a regional semi-pro men’s and women’s league. The deal is worth a reported C$20m (€13m/$15m) per season.
As part of this partnership, approximately 100 CPL games were aired on Mediapro’s new international streaming service OneSoccer last season.