Grupo Mediapro will own the rights to every property within the CSB portfolio for the next ten years.
Miami, FL (Thursday, February 21, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –
With the new Canadian Premier League (“CPL”) kicking off its first season across the True North this Spring, Canadians are about to have unprecedented access to soccer. It’s one of the bigger stories in the country’s soccer history.
Canadian Soccer Business (“CSB”) announced a 10-year Official Media Partnership with MEDIAPRO, a Spain-based media rights company. MEDIAPRO acquires a package that includes global and domestic media rights for Canada Soccer’s men’s and women’s national team home matches, the CPL, and League1 Ontario, the third-tier semi-pro division the league acquired last year.
The deal was negotiated by ThePostGame, a digital sports content and marketing agency, which is retained in August 2018 as the exclusive representative for CSB’s global media rights. CSB represents all corporate partnerships and broadcast rights related to Canada Soccer’s core assets including its national teams, along with all rights associated with the CPL.
“It’s easy to define our plan in one sentence — we want to build a home for Canadian soccer.”Oscar Lopez Garcia, CEO of Mediapro Canada.
It is customary for agreements such as this to be for three or perhaps four years, but, in this case, CSB had a longer term vision, which took into account where soccer is at the moment in Canada versus where it can be years from now. MEDIAPRO embraced that vision.
“Soccer is our cornerstone,” said Oscar Lopez, CEO of MEDIAPRO Canada. “For us, it’s part of our DNA. We breathe soccer. And, this is special, because this is a 10-year project. He added, “Usually in Europe, the period that you can have the rights is three years. It’s not enough time to develop a product or a story. But here, it’s 10 years, and for us, this fits perfectly with our philosophy and our ideas.”
The group’s vision? A prosperous, thriving CPL and Canada as an emerging soccer giant, culminating with the nation’s role as a co-host in the tri-nation 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“At the outset of this project, the owners of CSB felt it was hugely important to create a platform that was focused on anything and everything related to Canadian soccer,” said Scott Mitchell, CEO of Canadian Soccer Business. “The only way to do that is to find a world-class media partner who has experience doing just that and work with them on that platform. We’re not sure you can find a better example to emulate than what MEDIAPRO has done with La Liga.
“The reality of media consumption right now is that you can create a streaming platform that is ubiquitous for the consumers and easy to find in a variety of places and on a variety of devices. That is the primary focus before we turn our attention, with MEDIAPRO’s leadership, to other potential distribution partners.”
A leading global content producer, MEDIAPRO will be in charge of the production of thousands of matches and will launch a diverse and versatile channel that will be available for all platforms and devices entirely devoted to delivering world-class dedicated Canadian soccer coverage and content. This includes an OTT soccer streaming channel, complemented by unique soccer shoulder programming including magazine shows, documentaries and other Canadian soccer programming, focusing on a variety of topics, such as Canadian men’s and women’s national team performances in major tournaments, milestone moments in the CPL and the people who make it all happen. Content will also include telling the stories of soccer through daily programming across Desktop, Mobile and Smart TV platforms.
“For us, the match is only half the story we want to tell. The other half is the story of the players, the cities, the training and processes, everything around the match and about the teams. That’s how we built La Liga, which is on seven days per week.”Oscar Lopez Garcia, CEO of Mediapro Canada.
“We want to replicate that and bring that experience to the Canadian market. The good thing is that we start from scratch. We can create all this from the beginning.” Lopez added: “We know clearly that the agencies that only deal with buying and selling rights are coming to an end. We need to add more value to these rights.”
The agreement will also create infrastructure and career opportunities for Canadians, as Lopez affirmed that MEDIAPRO’s operation on this project will be Canadian-based, which was also an important mandate of the CSB to building this new soccer economy.
“We’re starting from scratch and we are really positive people,” Lopez offered. “We think that we have a lot of room to grow. Football – soccer in this case – is the people’s sport. It’s not expensive, it’s easy to play, and in the end, it’s the No. 1 sport in the world. “Soon, Canada will have a World Cup here – the event of all events in all of sport. We can try to piggyback this and create and build this philosophy of culture here in Canada.”
The ultimate goal of this partnership is to bring together like-minded individuals who share a common goal — growing the game of soccer across Canada. “I’m not sure you’ve ever seen this level of commitment to grow a sport in a developed country like this before, from an established company,” Mitchell told CanPL.ca.
“Getting a new technology and media company interested in the project wasn’t difficult, but landing a deal with a globally-respected company who wants to invest this seriously in soccer in Canada is certainly a first of its kind for Canadian soccer.”
The first season of the Canadian Premier League kicks off on April 27, 2019.
© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer