Breaking: Canadian Soccer Business Takes Legal Action Against MediaPro
This is a live post that will be updated as more information becomes available.
Canadian Soccer Business is taking league action against Spanish media company Mediapro in a major shake-up of domestic soccer’s relation to viewership accessibility in Canada.
First reported by renowned sports journalist Rick Westhead, Canadian Soccer Business has formally filed a notice of action against Mediapro, who held the Canadian broadcast rights to Canadian Premier League, Canadian Championship, and national team matches.
In general terms, it looks like CSB is moving to take back the broadcast rights for those properties – previously accessible in Canada through Mediapro’s digital streaming arm, OneSoccer – so that the CSB can find a new media or broadcast partner elsewhere.
“By taking back full control of our rights we will immediately have the opportunity to do so with new partners who have the ability to reach larger audiences,” said CSB spokesperson Laura Armstrong.
The CSB alleges that Mediapro failed to meet significant contractual obligations, including defaulting on the majority of its rights fees due for 2023 and failure to secure broader audiences for Canada’s national teams, the Canadian Championship, and the Canadian Premier League.
“Our decision to pursue legal action was not one we took lightly, but we felt it was necessary to protect the tremendous investments we have made to build the game in Canada,” the CSB said in a statement.
This move would allow Canadian Soccer Business to directly market its properties to mainstream media outlets rather than putting that onus on OneSoccer, the Mediapro-owned streaming service with an ongoing CRTC dispute with Rogers.
The domestic broadcast rights to the Canadian Premier League – along with the men’s and women’s national teams – have been held by Mediapro since 2019, when the company signed a ten-year deal allegedly worth $200 million.
A statement from Mediapro says the company has invested more than $60 million thus far, and that it has been Canadian Soccer Business which has not fulfilled its side of the commercial agreement between the two. A trusted source from Northern Tribune alleges one failure from the CSB’s end was the promise to have more than eight teams by the present date, though it remains unclear what promises Mediapro is alluding to.
Mediapro states that it has made its best efforts to work with the CSB in a constructive manner, but have arrived to the position where they had ‘no choice but to seek to terminate out agreement.’
“As this matter is now before the Ontario Superior Court, we will have no further comment,” said Mediapro in its closing statement.
With OneSoccer having called its platform the home of Canadian soccer, what happens next with the streaming service and its employees remains to be seen.
OneSoccer was also the kit sponsor for Valour FC, who play in a league the streaming service no longer holds the broadcast rights to.
At the present time, there is no broadcaster in place to cover the Canadian Premier League, Canadian Championship, or any upcoming national team matches.
This article will be updated when further updates available.