Canadian Premier League Looking To Boost Broadcast Content
It’s an exciting time to be a Canadian Premier League fan: the league just got its first-ever expansion side in Atletico Ottawa, which allowed the head office to put together a much more balanced league schedule, forgoing a split season format for a more traditional league table while still keeping its playoff tradition alive to keep more teams in the running during later stages of the season.
League commissioner David Clanachan had said the onus was on the CPL to keep improving each aspect of the league as it heads towards the 2020 season, and those improvements will also impact the live television coverage for the growing league. The inaugural campaign saw twenty matches get coverage from CBC Sports, ten on live broadcast television and another ten on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app, and the CBC Sports website.
For the upcoming season, Clanachan revealed on an episode of Footy Prime that the number of games aired on live television will grow – though he didn’t give out a specific number of matches yet:
Yes, we will have more games on that live than we did last year, for sure. We had twenty games with CBC last year. They played very well, it worked well for us. MediaPro wants to do that. Their whole idea here with OneSoccer is it’s not an OTT platform. They want it available everywhere, anywhere, how people want it. That’s the whole thing. This country’s a little bit different, right? We’ve got two big networks that are pretty strong. The two bulls in a China shop. They don’t necessarily think about it the same way, they’re very oldschool in the way they look at things. So you’re working through that, right? That’s okay. We’ll work through that ourselves. The reality is, it’s going to evolve. We know this. The reality is, today we can worry about this idea of subscription TV, but the reality is we’ve been paying for subscription TV for decades, it was just never packaged that way so we don’t know it.David Clanachan
OneSoccer had previously broached the subject of potentially starting its own 24/7 soccer channel on television, though when we last reached out to the streaming service it couldn’t provide an update on the initiative.
Every Canadian Premier League game will continue to be available on the OneSoccer streaming service, which is owned by MediaPro and offers plenty of supplementary Canadian football content and, of course, has been aggressively expanding its catalogue to bring Canadian spectators the likes of the Red Stripe Premier League, Chinese Super League, and Liga MX.
In the interim, Clanachan has reported that interest is building in regional broadcoasters too, indicating that local matches may soon become available to some CPL fans.
We’re seeing some interest from regional broadcasters. But, they key thing for us is that you’ve got to be able to show them data. One year under our belt, all of the sudden you’ve got data in front of you, so now you can actually sit down in front of people and say here’s what it looks like. Gone are the days where the CEO could say ‘Yeah, I want to put our name on that stadium that they just built in Hamilton’. Now it’s the CFO that says show me the return, right? It’s a very different world.David Clanachan
Given that this news was quietly broached a few weeks ago without any update since, there’s no telling what number of games will ultimately be available on live television versus OTT services like the present form of OneSoccer. Last year, the ten games that CBC sports featured on live broadcast had a network reach of 3,216,000 Canadians in all, with an average reach per game of 422,000. These regular season games had a 2+ average minute audience of 54,000, which was a figure slightly lower than Toronto FC’s 2016 matchday viewership (which, of course, was through a subscription-only channel).
The first leg of the CPL Finals featured a 2+ average minute audience of 82,000, which was a 28% increase over regular season games. It’s expected that at least one leg of this year’s finals will once again get live broadcast treatment, too.
Whatever number of games get aired on television in 2020, it’ll be interesting to see if the viewership rises – especially given the new schedule, which frequently features a new Friday night time slot to avoid conflicts with the likes of Toronto FC and matches from other leagues which may detract from viewership.
Source: Footy Prime
Pay to watch is a stupid idea but it’s the only one available. Getting the horse to water is going to be hard because the kids/families who live soccer every week are a haaaard sell. Kids know every player on FIFA2020 even when playing villages like Burnley vs Watford but they can’t name you 4 players on a Canadian MLS team or even the top 4 scorers in MLS. Starting even further back ESPECIALLY if you’re not in a market is going to be extremely challenging.
But the hate for onesoccer is still real among the ones who watch MLS and who found out that the Canadian finals for Champion league qualification wasn’t being aired on TV but they’d have to pay for it. When people found out it was behind a paywall the swearing hasn’t stopped since. Paywall is ok for diehard fans but right now it only hinders the one job they have to do: visibility. Getting people to even watch it free is a challenge. I’ve been on the case of a Canadian soccer league (having names like Premier league is a cheesy as Real Salt Lake or Atlanta United) ever since the last one closed in mid90s so I know how hard it is but it seems it’s going to be much harder .
Playing in cavernous CFL stadiums that aren’t used more than 8-9x year was the first one. Nothing says failing like a nice crowd of 5,000 spread over a whole stadium that sucks the energy out.
“Premier League is a cheesy as Real Salt Lake or Atlanta United”??? Not by a long shot.
The Canadian Premier League is doing things right overall and a great success so far, expect them to grow as Canada’s Division 1 pro league over the years.
As for the large stadiums a few clubs have, its not as ideal as a smaller near full stadium in many ways but if done with the right configuration these top quality facilities are fine and allow for the rising attendances the league will grow to have over the years.
The “hate for onesoccer” from a few MLS fans who whined that they would have to pay a few bucks for a match isn’t of that much concern for the league’s $200 million Mediapro deal in the end.
The CPL and Soccer Canada must insure free access to CPL and CMT games if they want to grow the game. They may make more money from One Soccer but their audience will not grow. I will certainly watch their games but not on a streaming service. I have DAZN but I don’t like it. It is inferior to what was on TSN
and RSN. The EPL on Saturday morning used to be appointment television. It isn’t anymore. Let’s hope the CPL and Soccer Canada take a long view and give us more free games.
You know having a game on TSN isn’t ‘free access’, right?