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Champions League Forge FC Cruz Azul

Big Cash Up For Grabs For CPL Clubs In Continental Action

By on June 6, 2023 0 1759 Views

The Concacaf Champions League is no more – long live the Concacaf Champions Cup.

The renamed competition will take shape with an expanded club setup that will see two Canadian Premier League clubs qualify through league play, but one big change could provide big rewards for CPL minnows in the competition: along with a fresh name, the tournament now has a much bigger prize pool, too.

The previous Concacaf Champions League winners took home an estimated $500,000, with today’s announcement bumping that figure all the way to five million dollars – enough to cover a CPL’s technical staff and player salary budget for four years even under maximal spending conditions.

Concacaf League Dominic Samuel
Photo Credit: Concacaf

While it isn’t know what the prize pool is for the runners-up and beyond, it looks like there’s serious money on offer should CPL clubs make a deep run in continental competition – something Forge has already achieved in the Concacaf League era.

There are three ways Canadian Premier League clubs can qualify for the tournament: finishing as regular season champions, playoff champions, or winning the Canadian Championship – though the Voyageurs Cup is guaranteed to go to an MLS team this year.

See Video: Concacaf Men’s Club Ecosystem Explained

Given the young stature of the Canadian Premier League and the budget constraints that come with those realities, the tantalizing prize pool announcement will likely see CPL clubs give the tournament a big priority should they qualify for it.

Thus far only Forge FC has appeared in the just-discontinued Champions League setup, while both Forge and Pacific represented the league well in the now-defunct Concacaf League era.

Pacific FC Marco Bustos

Beyond a drastic increase in potential prize money, Canadian Premier League clubs stand to benefit from increased ticket sales from high profile opposition – for example, Pacific’s first foray into continental action proved a draw at Starlight Stadium.

They won that match six-nil, by the way.

When looking at the away trip exposure, Forge’s trip to the fabled Estadio Azteca remains its most well-attended match in road history after some 28,000 fans took in the hammers’ eventual defeat, with many more tuning into the cup bout.

While there is a flip side to joining the premier continental tournament, today’s news opening an interesting door for clubs in Canada’s top flight to earn some serious coin – and while they would enter as hefty underdogs, the CPL has already punched above its weight before.

The reformatted Concacaf Champions Cup will begin play in 2024, with the Canadian Premier League’s regular season and playoff champions both set to feature.

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