Baldassarra Family Sells York United To CSB
For the second time in just as many years, a low-attendance Canadian Premier League club is set to operated by the league – or more technically, CSB.
Today sees the confirmation that Canada Soccer Business has purchased York United from original club owners the Baldassarra family, with CSB’s purchase coming ahead in anticipation of a new ownership group’s future purchase.
Angus McNab will remain seated as the club’s president and CEO while the club undergoes the transfer, with all business and technical staff remaining in place as well.
“We would like to thank Michael, Carlo, and the entire Baldassarra family for their early belief in the CPL and the role they played in getting the League to where it is today,” said CPL Commissioner Mark Noonan, who was spotted at York Lions Stadium ahead of the move.
“We collectively agreed it is best to find new owners for York United to help this club further blossom into what we know it can be: a world-class organization befitting of the soccer-mad community in the York Region.”
Noonan urges that it’s business as usual for York United in the meantime, though the league purchasing the club is hardly a usual affair. Still, it’s hard to argue that changes in the club’s direction weren’t needed.
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The Baldassarra family had invested heavily in the club, but saw opening year attendance average out to 2,723 fans – a figure that has gone down following the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, York United had managed just about 1,250 fans on average.
The announcement comes days after the CPL side handed Vancouver FC its first-ever win in front of a sub-one-thousand crowd. Despite a polished front office and what has frequently panned out to be nights of entertaining football, the Baldassara family has been unable to turn the Canadian Premier League club into a big draw for fans.
It remains unknown what this means for the club’s intentions to create a stadium of its own in Woodbine, with the club having played out of the York University campus since launching in 2019.
Given that the announcement comes just months after the Canadian Premier League shuttered FC Edmonton after assuming operations over there, the sale of York United to the CSB – for an undisclosed fee – will prove a worry for those following the league if a new buyer isn’t found quickly, though the league expects this will occur.
The club’s current roster has some players on deals through to 2024, with Canada Soccer Business now taking over payment duties for those contracts. At the present, there’s been no leads on an immediate buyer for the club – something that likely would have nullified the need for the CSB to step in as a purchaser.
“We have been so proud to invest in the future of Canadian soccer in recent years,” added outbound owner Michael Baldassarra. “However, moving forward, we felt the club, community and its supporters would be better served by having new custodians at the helm bringing fresh energy and ideas. Our family would like to thank York’s great staff and Angus McNab for their tireless efforts through these formative years. We look forward to cheering York on as fans in the future.”
Further updates to come as the story unfolds.