Atlético de Madrid reportedly investing in new Ottawa CanPL franchise.
A further sign that La Liga and its teams are making gains in North America.
MIAMI, Fla. (January 18, 2020) —
One of Spain’s biggest football clubs, Club Atlético de Madrid, is close to completing negotiations to create a brand new franchise in Ottawa that will compete in the Canadian Premier League, becoming the eighth club in a league that stretches from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
Spanish sports business media outlet Palco23 indicated that three separate sources indicate that the team will be announced in the coming weeks and will start play as soon as this April when the Canadian league begins its second season. The project is a continuation of Atlético’s foray into North America. Club officials did not return requests for comment made by Palco23.
Complete details are not yet available, and there has not been an official announcement yet, but Ottawa French daily publication Le Droit has added a few details. It appears that the former owners of the Ottawa Fury are not involved, but an investor in OSEG, Jeff Hunt, is acting as a facilitator in the negotiations. [ RELATED: Who is Jeff Hunt?| The Fury were founded in 2011, playing in second tier of North American soccer as part of the now defunct North American Soccer League (NASL), and then the United Soccer League (USL) Championship.
When asked for comment on Friday, Jeff Hunt had told Le Droit: “I can’t reveal the identity of my partners. It’s not my place to make this announcement, but I can assure you that soccer will be back in Ottawa in 2020 and the franchise will be led by a club with a rich history. When the Fury closed down, the CPL approached me to help bring a club to the nation’s capital. They felt it was important to have eight clubs by 2020. The schedule has not yet been released because they have always wanted Ottawa to be included in the 2020 season. This city already had a successful soccer club. All it needed was a partner with a strong backbone. We found it.”
Ottawa’s previous professional club, the Ottawa Fury, dissolved in 2019, after failing to receive sanctioning from Canada Soccer and Concacaf, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, to continue playing in the USL Championship, sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as the U.S. second division. The club subsequently sold its USL franchise rights to the Miami FC.
Atlético, according to reports, are keen for their team to continue playing at the Fury’s original home, TD Place Stadium, which holds 24,000. It is not yet clear if the side will compete in the CPL under its original name or, more likely, switch to a new one more in line with the Atlético brand.
The La Liga club undertook a similar project in 2017 when they announced the purchase of a 61 per cent stake in Mexico’s San Luís team, who now compete in the country’s top-flight Liga MX competition as Club Atlético San Luís. This team is managed through Atlético de Madrid International Holding, a company created by the Spanish team. These are also not the first attempts by Atlético to expand their footprint outside of Spain. They previously owned a 34.6 % stake in Racing Club de Lens (France, Ligue 2), before selling that stake to Ambar Capital. They also had unsuccesfully attempted to become minority owners of a club in India.
The club, which is controlled by Gil Marín and his family, has always made it clear that their ambition is to extend the Atlético Madrid brand around the world through the acquisition of franchised clubs or academies. With regard to the latter, in 2018 the club opened an academy in Israel and also have opened three other academies in India with the aid of sponsors.
The investments in clubs in Canada and Mexico have come at a good point in time for the Rojiblancos, who are expected to have revenues of 515 million Euros in 2019-2020, a figure 27% higher than in 2018-2019. The breakdown of the revenue total is not known but is attributable to the sale of Antoine Griezmann and Rodri this past summer, as well as the sale of lands where the club’s former stadium, the Vicente Calderón, is located. The success of the commercial side of the club’s operations is also a factor, with revenue of 86.17 millon Euros through corporate sponsorships with Hyundai (sleeve sponsor), as well as strategic partnerships with Telefónica and a new four-year (2019-2023) partnership with Ria Money Transfer on the back of the shirts.
Source Info – Palco23 es el diario líder en información económica del negocio del deporte en España, que informa sobre este sector con la publicación de noticias, reportajes, análisis, entrevistas y artículos de opinión.