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  • Spruce Meadows and Their CanPL Learning Curve


    They are building a league. None of it existed before. It is easy for fans and followers to lose sight of what was so obvious only a few short months ago. Now people are paying attention to players, coaches, teams, formations, and results. But the challenge of winning games, learning your trade as a player or coach, or making tactical adjustments is undergirded by a league infrastructure which has an entire set of its own challenges, difficulties, and pitfalls. From marketing the teams to broadcasting the games to running your venue on game day, everywhere one turns there is a new challenge for the Canadian Premier League. And each of the teams face hurdles to overcome that are unique to their context.

    For Cavalry FC, their contextual challenges have included weather, transportation, and stadium creation. Their home base at Spruce Meadows required a significant amount of construction to get ready for this season including the construction of a large grandstand. Ian Allison, president and COO of Spruce Meadows Sports and Entertainment describes how the combination of weather and construction combined to negatively impact their playing surface.

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    Read more on the NSXI Network.

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    • A Canadian women's pro league in the parameters we are talking about could maybe be around 20th in the world. Vyng for third in Concacaf, and well back of the first two, just like with the CPL. Behind most of the larger and mid-level European leagues, lower in potential than some of the emerging South American leagues. So it is totally mistaken to exagerrate the relative importance, it would be modest, and a major drop off from top quality women's play in its first years. Then it might grow. If we get Concacaf women's club competitions, they'd get to prove themselves.  In terms of how you are describing Platt's views: there is no argument to be made for the women's option being that much better than the CPL. In fact, since they project a lower salary cap and less travel, and that in 3 years time, the business plan is even more modest. But it can be leveraged in other ways, despite not promising a high quality. I argue in favour of it because of other reasons. One being that it would be the definitive D1 in Canada, and that could be more attractive for fans, you can market it as the best pro women's football in Canada, and it'd be true. But the actual spectator base would be similar--that is why they are talking about stadiums for 6,000. Another that it enables clubs and stadium owners to maximize resources. But that is mostly building on the back of men's structures, whether administrative or in terms of facilities. Both announced teams follow this pattern. Then, I am in favour because both politics and corporate sponsorship is obliged to think about more inclusive models, speaking of how money is spent. If Saskatoon city council members were faced with rejecting pro women's soccer in the city, they would find it much harder, no question. Corporate sponsors also want to be able to say they are supporting women and men, and in fact some of the announced CSB deals already indicated this, before the Women's League announcement.  While Rogers might be able to cite "limited appeal" of the CPL, because it is a second level of play compared to the MLS teams, that would be harder with a women's league. So even though viewers would not necessarily be higher, the arguments for rejecting it would be harder to make--assuming One Soccer had the rights, which is not clear anyways. My final reasoning, as I mentioned before, is that both our Spanish partners have a strong committment to the women's game, both Atlético and Mediapro, and support it at a loss or breaking even. While that may not seem significant, having external pressure and even support would be a positive. 
    • In a Spain Portugal bid, you would have relatively quick travel. You can take high-speed trains and go from Barcelona to Madrid in 2.5  hours (further than Toronto-Montreal, for example). All flights in the country are under 2 hours, excepting Canary Islands. It is hot enough that you would have to play matches late, so that makes it harder to go for a game in another city and go back to your hotel after in another city, though you could: do the same as with 2026, create clusters. All doable.  You also have two or more large stadiums in 4 of the cities (Madrid with 2, Barcelona with 3, Sevilla with 3, Lisbon with two). Since Spain has the highest rate of tourism in the world after France, which is centred on Paris, the capacity for absorption is high. When the Mobile World Congress comes to Barcelona, that is 110,000 visitors over 5 days; true, many visitors end up in cities 15-20 km out of town. So having a group in a city is possible, in terms of cities, amenities and logistics. While I could be greedy about it, returning to Uruguay and including S American countries that have not hosted a World Cup is a great idea. 
    • Strong CanPL angle to the commentary on this clip: As Oliver Platt points out a women's Canadian league always had a much better shot at being one of the the top leagues in the world when launching.
    • I was a big Ali Gerba fan.
    • ^Seriously, when are you finally going to just fuck off?
    • No one asked for this, but I was bored so I decided to put together a list of the teams Canada has never played a senior men’s international against. In order of the October rankings: 18     Senegal 21     Serbia 25     Sweden 32     Nigeria 33     Russia* (played USSR) 42     Norway 46     Mali 48     Ivory Coast 53     Romania 54     Burkina Faso 55     Slovakia 58     Bosnia and Herzegovina 66     Albania 69     Montenegro 70     United Arab Emirates 71     Cape Verde 73     DR Congo 75     Oman 76     Israel 78     Georgia 81     Gabon 82     Bolivia 83     Guinea 84     Jordan 88     Zambia 89     Uganda 90     Syria 91     Benin 94     Palestine 95     Kyrgyzstan 96     Vietnam 98     Equatorial Guinea 99     Lebanon 100     Congo 101     Kenya 102     Madagascar 106     India 107     Kosovo 108     Tajikistan 111     Thailand 113     Kazakhstan 114     Mozambique 115     Namibia 116     Guinea-Bissau 117     Sierra Leone 119     Angola 121     Niger 124     Malawi 125     Zimbabwe 126     Gambia 127     Togo 128     Sudan 129     Comoros 130     Tanzania 131     Antigua and Barbuda 132     Central African Republic 133     Philippines 134     Latvia 135     Turkmenistan 136     Solomon Islands 137     Rwanda 138     Ethiopia 141     Burundi 142     Nicaragua 143     Eswatini 144     Lithuania 147     Lesotho 148     Botswana 149     Kuwait 150     Liberia 151     Andorra 153     Dominican Republic 154     Maldives 155     Yemen 156     Afghanistan 157     Chinese Taipei 158     Myanmar 159     Papua New Guinea 161     New Caledonia 162     Tahiti 163     Fiji 164     Vanuatu 165     South Sudan 171     Guyana 173     Grenada 175     Nepal 177     Cambodia 179     Montserrat 180     Mauritius 181     Chad 182     Macau 183     Mongolia 185     Bhutan 186     São Tomé and Príncipe 187     Laos 188     American Samoa 189     Cook Islands 190     Brunei 191     Samoa 192     Bangladesh 193     Djibouti 194     Pakistan 196     Liechtenstein 197     Tonga 198     Timor-Leste 199     Seychelles 200     Eritrea 202     Bahamas 203     Somalia 204     Gibraltar 205     Guam 206     Turks and Caicos Islands 207     Sri Lanka 209     British Virgin Islands 210     Anguilla 211     San Marino Other: Guyana, Bonaire, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten I was surprised at Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Grenada. Feels like we should have run into all of them at some point.
    • The sort of bluechip corporate Canada investors that were conspicuous by their absence where CanPL was concerned back around 2018: Elite men's soccer is played mainly by first generation immigrants like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David rather than by good old boys from Saskatchewan like Wendel Clark in terms of who the most exceptional athletes tend to be. Is there something that is different about Christine Sinclair and Diana Matheson that might make corporate types keener to put them on a cereal box? Not sure what it is. Can't quite put my finger on it. A genuine possibility that they might actually play or coach in the league in question. Yes, that's it. The CSA chose to push the CanPL project to the detriment of a women's pro soccer league agenda when it was far from obvious that it had the better prospects of success and a greater possibility of contributing to the ongoing success of a national team program. That's a big part of what the why should we wait, it's time stuff is all about. Interesting times ahead.
    • ...the fun and games will start when the CWNT players broach the subject of money generated by the CWNT going to propping up this league rather than CSB even though there is a legal agreement already in place handing that over to the CanPL owners potentially up until 2038. That is likely to reach a crescendo in the run up to next year's Women's World Cup. CanPL now needs to put up or shut up where a parallel women's pro league is concerned.
    • So it seems that Malcolm Johnston and Levonte Johnson are the top candidates for first round picks. Other seniors that could be sleepers, based purely off of minutes played and calibre of school are Christian Curti and Charles Auguste. Any other hopefuls to keep an eye on come draft-day? I haven’t seen any Canadian underclassmen among the rumoured GA class.
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