June 22, 2024
  • June 22, 2024
Northern Super League

Meet The Northern Super League

By on May 28, 2024 0 3100 Views

At long last, Canada’s own professional women’s soccer league has a name: shedding its temporary Project 8 title, fans can now shake hands with the Northern Super League.

With the league branding now official, some key details about the professional soccer league – set to launch in 2025 – have now come to light:

The Starting Six

When the league was first announced it had three locations on board: Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. Halifax surfaced ahead of today’s announcement, with Montreal being unveiled this morning and Ottawa now listed as the league’s sixth and final launch team.

All six teams are owned and operated by independent ownership groups, with the league’s corporate partnerships clocking in with Canadian Tire, DoroDash, CIBC, and Air Canada.

We’ll have more in-depth news about about each individual club soon.

The Format

The six teams involved will be well-acquainted with one another come the inaugural campaign’s end: the Northern Super League regular season will run 25 games long, after which playoffs – featuring two-legged semi/finals with the top vs bottom seed and second facing third – set precede the National Championship in the fall.

Each club will operate with a salary cap which Canadian Soccer Daily’s Mariam Kourabi reported to be at $1.5 million, with rosters of 20-25 in all set to allow for seven international roster spots to help the core domestic roster raise their level, and an additional cap for player benefits like housing and transportation.

There will be a minimum $50,000 salary floor that is ‘aligned with established leagues worldwide’, while there will also be a designated player-type rule allowing for clubs to sign one athlete who will only attribute $75,000 to their team’s salary cap.

The league’s trading system will allow require players to sign off on any intra-league trades, while Matheson also said that items like maternity leave for players and staff will be incorporated from the get-go but are still in process at the present.

The league has confirmed that further details on league scheduling, player signings, and the NSL’s own executive staff will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The 2025 Northern Super League season is slated to kick off in April 2025.

How To Tune In

The Northern Super League plans to announce broadcasting rights information as soon as next week, with Matheson telling TSN that the league will deploy a strategy similar to what the PWHL has done: investing in its own production with distribution to a variety of Canadian broadcasters.

“We know we’re a growth market. So, we invest in our own production,” says Matheson. “We work with Canadian distributors to get in front of as many Canadian eyeballs as possible in the first few years and make sure it looks good.”

It’s worth noting that the league appears to be tied in with Dome Productions in this regard.

The Naming Process

When the league was announced just over a year ago, it donned the moniker of Project 8 ahead of its planned 2025 launch. That was always a tentative title, especially with the number of launch teams landing at six.

“For me, it was very difficult,” reveals Matheson said in an interview. “Us in the Project 8 office, every spare probably 20 minutes we had over the first 18 months we would just brainstorm on our own — ‘hey, what should the league name be?’ And never came up with anything good.”

There’s a key omission in the name they came up with: there is no ‘women’ in the Northern Super League title. That’s intentional, with the league making a statement that it’ll be equal to other leagues in professional sports. Super League, in turn, drives home the calibre of players the NSL wants to bring in.

The League’s Own Branding

Centered around the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Super League is running with a colour palette that plays off of vibrant teal, purple, and black motif. A four-pointed north star compliments the look, with a serpentine-style font expected to feature prominently.

The look was developed by a Canadian creative agency called the Broken Heart Love Affair.

So, What’s Next?

It’s all in the details, and as nice as the branding is (and it is!), the reality of a professional sports league is that it has to nail both big and small details. Much of that is where clubs will play, how they will operate, how to onboard fans and, of course, where viewers not in the stadiums will watch the action unfold.

This key information is expected to assemble over the coming months. We already know some things, like how Montreal will play throughout different venues in year one, while AFC Toronto is eyeing Lamport Stadium but considering using York Lions Stadium as a launch point for year one.

There are plenty of details still to come, so fans of Canadian football – and the women’s game at large – simply need to stay tuned.

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