Jump to content

6 years later: the CUSL revisited


Recommended Posts

quote:Originally posted by Daniel

So, what happened?

A question that I feel like I might be able to answer at least partially and with the benefit of some hindsight.

Summary: No sugar daddies. Everything else is just details.

Starting a league takes a certain amount of money. The KPMG report that inspired the response that became the CUSL proposal made it clear that the underlying issue was a lack of realistic amounts of money. Not just the bare minimum to pay salaries and rent stadums but the serious money to mount effective long-term marketing strategies and ensure league stability for a period of years.

Previous attempts had been hand-to-mouth affairs with leagues changing from year to year. No serious attempts at long-term growth of the fan-base were possible while owners were concerned with staying afloat. The media was unable to take a league seriously that was not made up of the same teams/divisional alignments/schedule formats from one year to the next.

The CUSL proposal took on the challenge and tried two different non-traditonal routes:


Using the plan and the backing of the CSA the idea was to get national sponsors on board early. Making a long-term investment (2-5 years) would provide the league with stability and it was hoped attract sponsors who shared the vision.

This plan called for 10 national sponsors at $1M each. There was some limited interest from a couple of national corporations but it was slow going and no coporations ever actually signed up.

Thus another idea was hatched:


What started out as a proposal for an official supporters "club" ballooned into a scheme whereby every registered player in Canada would contribute to the league via an air miles type card program. They were supposed to get some tickets and promotional material but really it was a way for 8 year old rec players to pay for the league.

In retrospect it was certainly the most bone-headed idea to come out of the whole process. It alienated a large number of the stakeholders who would be asked to promote the league. It would have taken a huge investment ot get off the ground. It just was never going to work. (And yes, I wish I had been able to say that when I heard about it.)

Looking back, if there was a moment the CUSL died then I would have to say that was it. Or more accuratley, that was the moment the life-support failed.

The idea was really dead from the beginning without, for the lack of a better term, sugar daddies. MLS in the states exists only because wealthy individuals like the late Lamar Hunt

invested huge sums of money knowing that the league would not be self-supporting fincancially for a AT LEAST a decade after the first game.

What no one in Canada seems willing to accept is that without individuals like Hunt a Canadian league is a non-starter. Several individuals like Kerfoot and it might have been possible but why take risks when you can join MLS?

A national Div 2 is a nice dream but the same problem makes it very unlikely. No one will pay for it.

Find a few rich soccer nuts and we might be in business. Otherwise, be happy with the PCSL/CSL/A-League teams we do have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the year 2000, to operate a six to eight team domestic national league, KPMG and the CSA estimated average annual operating costs of approximately $700,000 per team, slightly less than the then average annual operating budget for an A-League team. This excluded any capital costs incurred developing or improving stadium facilities. Do the math yourself to figure out the total for such a league and add some for inflation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...