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CPL Division II - Pro/Rel discussion

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...and larger clubs for a complete financial meltdown if they ever have a bad season given a second tier is likely to be a massive step down, which is why even if this thing ever gets to 16 (which at the moment is in the realm of fantasy as even getting to 8 will/would be a monumental achievement) the owners are likely to give it a cursory glance and then say no way Jose and go with expanded regional divisions instead along the lines of the WHL, OHL and QMJHL as the template for getting to 20, 40 or 60 teams.

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Y'all had fun with this thread on the weekend. I'll reply quickly to the general points raised in this thread, and the points I make, I speak for myself only.

The points I've made in this thread and elsewhere in this forum regarding pro/rel, all of this pertains to only the most optimistic scenario for the league. I agree with many people in this thread that pro/rel will only be an option or a possibility when CPL is at MLS-level stability, and have hit 20 clubs, with demand for more clubs from various cities. We're talking about 2050 here.

Not only that, the pro/rel system that I have in mind for CPL in 2050 at the earliest is the system that the K League has at the moment: a closed 2-tier system, where the D1 clubs can only go down to D2 at worst, and where the D2 was created by the D1 governing league through expansion clubs in its inaugural season. I disagree with Harry's statement about K League youth development; we can discuss that later on. Feel free to read more about the Korean football pyramid on Wikipedia if you'd like, but the underlying fact is, the K League existed as a D1-only league for 30 years, from 1983 onwards, and found enough stability to add a D2 in its 30th anniversary. This is something Canada can and should absolutely strive for.

To those who say that a CPL with 20 clubs would be fantastic already, you're absolutely correct. However, if you look at what's happening in the 3-4 tiers of American soccer at the moment, and all the successful clubs that have gone from USL to MLS the last 10 years, and all the sustainable clubs still in NASL and USL and below, even after all that US soccer has gone through with NASL 1.0 and the early struggles of MLS, I think there remains a possibility, albeit a small one, that we may have room for 20 or more potential D1 and D2 soccer clubs in Canada beyond 2050. I bolded 2050 only to speak for myself that all this pro/rel possibility is decades down the road.

So, many of you asked, why are we discussing this topic today? I thought our favourite CPL archivist Complete Homer nailed it when he pointed out in page 1 of this thread, "all you can do at this point is build the league in a way that leaves the door open, instead of structuring it in a way that makes conversion to pro/rel nearly impossible like MLS unfortunately did. It has to be structured as a possibility from day one, or it will never happen."

The foundations that Beirne and Young put in this year will dictate so much of the Canadian soccer discussion 33 years from now. It's a perfectly valid time to be discussing this topic.

 

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3 hours ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

...and larger clubs for a complete financial meltdown if they ever have a bad season given a second tier is likely to be a massive step down

This is actually (possibly accidentally?) quite an optimistic outlook for CPL. If there really is that much value in CPL that being dropped a division would mean that much, then CPL is doing very well for itself.

For example: Let's say magically we had enough teams interested to start a CPL and CDL (D for deuxieme) with promotion and relegation next year. 12 or so teams in both divisions. We also don't have a TV contract and sponsorship money is modest. There wouldn't be much financial gain to being in CPL at the outset. The financial success of clubs would be more based on the money received from ticket sales (and merch and concessions) than anything else. Whether that team is in CPL or CDL would only matter if the perception negatively hurt ticket sales, but I'm guessing early on it wouldn't mean much. If people are going to support their team in the CPL, which assuming very little mainstream coverage, will probably also support their team if it's in CDL.

Likewise, L1O could very well split into L1O and L2O with promotion and relegation, and I think there would be zero negative impact on the teams in L2O in terms of finances. It might hurt their recruiting a bit, and their player development a bit by not playing against the better teams, but it wouldn't affect their attendance one bit.

So if a team dropping from CPL down to CDL means financial ruin (despite no doubt making roster changes to lower the player salaries) then that means CPL is valuable to teams. That would be great if it happens (I mean, I'm not wishing financial ruin on anybody, just saying it would be great if CPL is that hot a commodity in the future).

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Saw this article pop up again on Reddit, an Economist article from Nov 2016 from Jake Steinberg. A good summary. Everything I've said above, I've considered many of the various historical precedents discussed in this article in mind. Coincidentally enough, this author seems to be the chairperson of the board for San Fran City FC, the PDL team that the Deltas is going up against, as we discussed in the general thread a couple days ago.

It's obvious that p/r has a terrible connotation in US soccer because of that racist prick Tinfoil Ted, who I've sparred with on many occasions, and NASL 2.0, Traffic Sports, Bill Peterson, Riccardo Silva and Seamus O'Brien, all of whom I got to know well as a Fury supporter.

Everything I've said above, I'm trying my best to help Canada avoid a Canadian version of Tinfoil Ted, NASL 2.0 and Traffic Sports, hints of which already bubble in this forum time to time. And by far the best way for Canada to do so is for its D1 league to take initiative of its D2 as well in the long-term.

https://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2016/11/football-pyramid-america

Edited by ironcub14

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19 hours ago, Initial B said:

I don't think people have to get too worked up over this. Let's get the league started first and worry about pro-rel later. Just knowing it's an option is good enough for now.

I hear you, and the CEOs and the VPs and the managers and head coaches that the owners will employ over the next 12 months will play a vast role in shaping up what the league's inaugural season and its short-term future will look like.

But I think we can agree that the long-term future of the league is being discussed explicitly in the business plan that PB is presenting to the potential owners as of right now, and will likely be entrenched in whatever is decided at the onset of the league. It's all connected, every issue we discuss on this forum.

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13 minutes ago, Ansem said:

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/08/10/kurt-larson-podcast-toronto-fc-canadian-soccer-and-more

During the podcast, CPL pro/rel was discussed. 2 points were brought up

1-Some kind of pyramid-wide revenue sharing model would be needed to make it work

2-High revenue generating markets needs to be protected 

A soft cap solves both of those problems. It would let bigger clubs spend more to stay up and pay into a revenue sharing pool for the small clubs. 

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Also just restricting the D2 international import further is another way to achieve that.

The podcast said that the number of imports in CPL being discussed if 10. A D2 league could be restricted to 5 which would truly be Canadian heavy, putting an emphasis on having more Canadians play at a higher level while developing more.

*watching Brighton & Hove Albion playing Manchester City. It's really interesting to see those kind of games. They haven't played in EPL since 1982. Very special day for them and their fans.

Edited by Ansem

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I think we are in a much better position than the USA to institute pro/rel. They have so many large markets that wouldn't accept D2 status that they would need a 50 team first division to keep everyone happy.

We only have so many large markets. If they are allowed to use their (presumed) financial might, they shouldn't go down much or at all. The mid sized markets will be bouncing up and down, and the small markets will be licking their chops trying to make a promotion run. I don't think Moncton fans would be too upset about being in the second division if they take a good crack at promotion every year. 

Edited by Alex D

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Totally agree. I agree with podcast saying major revenue generating markets should be protected.

Like you said, a soft cap allowing teams like Hamilton, Saskatchewan or Calgary to stay in D1 by letting them spend what they want up to a certain point.

Canada is in a great position to "figure it out" by figuring out a "Canadian solution".

Pro/rel criticism is mainly due to either talking about implementing the Euro model which would never work in North American context as it is and the other extreme of believing that only the MLS single entity-league steucture can work.

I think there's room to work in between to find a middle ground that works for everyone and that could be viable. MLS was designed without having pro/rel in mind. That's why doing it now is next to impossible. CPL has the advantage to think about it while developing the league. 

Edited by Ansem

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I mean...technically you could kill two birds with one stone by using some sort of luxury tax as part of revenue sharing...

ie any payroll over soft cap is taxed at x% and goes into revenue sharing stream.

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44 minutes ago, Alex D said:

I think we are in a much better position than the USA to institute pro/rel. They have so many large markets that wouldn't accept D2 status that they would need a 50 team first division to keep everyone happy.

We only have so many large markets. If they are allowed to use their (presumed) financial might, they shouldn't go down much or at all. The mid sized markets will be bouncing up and down, and the small markets will be licking their chops trying to make a promotion run. I don't think Moncton fans would be too upset about being in the second division if they take a good crack at promotion every year. 

Will still dont have a league to promote into.  We have 3MLS, 1NASL, 3USL teams all tied up in the US pyramid.  Our "pyramid" right now is league 1 Ontario and the PQ league.  Lets actually get 6-8 more pro teams and a CPL drawing fans and steady on their feet before we worry about pro/rel.  

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2 hours ago, Ansem said:

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/08/10/kurt-larson-podcast-toronto-fc-canadian-soccer-and-more

During the podcast, CPL pro/rel was discussed. 2 points were brought up

1-Some kind of pyramid-wide revenue sharing model would be needed to make it work

2-High revenue generating markets needs to be protected 

Agree with this for sure (in the far term, don't think we will see it any time soon). 

For #2, IIRC multiple euro leagues have minimum levels of revenue and/or stadium requirements that promoted teams have to meet before they are actually allowed to join D1. Just set the minimum high enough that major revenue generators would have acceptable replacements, and if the D2 champ can't, than the status quo remains next season 

 

Edited by Complete Homer

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42 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

Will still dont have a league to promote into.  We have 3MLS, 1NASL, 3USL teams all tied up in the US pyramid.  Our "pyramid" right now is league 1 Ontario and the PQ league.  Lets actually get 6-8 more pro teams and a CPL drawing fans and steady on their feet before we worry about pro/rel.  

For sure, but it's important to structure the league to actually allow pro/rel to be possible down the road if the owners want it as an eventual goal. Even if it's 30 years down the road, any sort of collective ownership runs the risk of painting themselves into a corner like MLS on this topic without good planning. I doubt the USSF expected to have the problem of too many legitimate pro teams when drawing up the league in the 90s, and their structure has made transitioning to a true pyramid difficult,  messy, and litigious. 

Obviously we aren't the ones doing the planning, but it's interesting to talk about how it could be done

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I agree with getting the set up correct right off the bat.  But in the USA you could see the potential with the 100's of population centers that could support clubs and the depth and breadth of investor/goverment/fan support that soccer COULD get if things took off for them.  And it finally has happened, USL teams are out drawing MLS clubs.  Major US markets are supporting mutiple teams.  You see investor groups clamoring for a chance to get into MLS.  Teams are popping up in the south, midwest, west coast, seemingly everywhere.  And its been 20 years since MLS formed.  

Realistically I dont think we have the population base, investor groups  etc to get more than a dozen pro teams in Canada.  Lets say the 3 MLS teams plus the 9 CFL sites, plus Halifax and maybe a couple others. 

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6 minutes ago, Bison44 said:

I agree with getting the set up correct right off the bat.  But in the USA you could see the potential with the 100's of population centers that could support clubs and the depth and breadth of investor/goverment/fan support that soccer COULD get if things took off for them.  And it finally has happened, USL teams are out drawing MLS clubs.  Major US markets are supporting mutiple teams.  You see investor groups clamoring for a chance to get into MLS.  Teams are popping up in the south, midwest, west coast, seemingly everywhere.  And its been 20 years since MLS formed.  

Realistically I dont think we have the population base, investor groups  etc to get more than a dozen pro teams in Canada.  Lets say the 3 MLS teams plus the 9 CFL sites, plus Halifax and maybe a couple others. 

I don't think we'll ever be in a situation where the market demand is forcing the discussion of pro/rel like it is in the states, but if the owners want it as a feature, there's certainly ways to do it. If they want teams to be viable with as little as 200k population and are willing to have smaller tables, I can see it in the far term

There's 22 200k population centres, and in a few decades we will have a handful of those pushing past the 1M mark for the first time. If they keep costs under control, especially for the lower division, I can see it as possible as a long term goal

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Markets of multi millions inhabitants can support multiple clubs. Beirne has said as much.

Where CPL could have 1 Toronto team, a D2 could have trams in places like Scarborough, North York or Etobicoke. (PSG is in Ligue 1 but Paris FC is in Ligue 2)

I know Montreal better so if there was to be a CPL Montreal (Downtown or Montreal University grounds), D2 could thrive in West Island Montreal (Pointe-Claire) 

Edited by Ansem

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21 hours ago, Bison44 said:

Will still dont have a league to promote into.  We have 3MLS, 1NASL, 3USL teams all tied up in the US pyramid.  Our "pyramid" right now is league 1 Ontario and the PQ league.  Lets actually get 6-8 more pro teams and a CPL drawing fans and steady on their feet before we worry about pro/rel.  

So I can't discuss pro rel in the pro rel thread. Great. Thanks for letting me know. 

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21 hours ago, Complete Homer said:

Even if it's 30 years down the road, any sort of collective ownership runs the risk of painting themselves into a corner like MLS on this topic without good planning.

Let's be clear, MLS hasn't accidentally painted themselves into a corner. The league was purposely structured so that pro/rel would be a nightmare to implement. Nobody is a position of power in US Soccer wanted pro/rel in 1996, and I'm not sure that anybody within the USSF or MLS wants it now. 

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1 hour ago, harrycoyster said:

Let's be clear, MLS hasn't accidentally painted themselves into a corner. The league was purposely structured so that pro/rel would be a nightmare to implement. Nobody is a position of power in US Soccer wanted pro/rel in 1996, and I'm not sure that anybody within the USSF or MLS wants it now. 

It was structured to make it financially viable, I don't think they were seriously concerned with the possibility of the league having more than 30 legitimate markets trying to elbow in before the league becomes too large to expand further. The permanent siloing of the levels on the pyramid looks more like a side effect than a real piece of planning, in my opinion, but obviously that's debatable.  

Regardless, I don't think it's controversial to say that if the owners want pro/rel eventually (which is not guaranteed - fairly certain the closest we've ever seen was Bierne saying they haven't closed the door on it) and some sort of collective ownership is part of the business plan, than some careful planning has to be done to keep those parts from being mutually exclusive as they have in the states. 

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On 2017-08-12 at 3:49 PM, Bison44 said:

I agree with getting the set up correct right off the bat.  But in the USA you could see the potential with the 100's of population centers that could support clubs and the depth and breadth of investor/goverment/fan support that soccer COULD get if things took off for them.  And it finally has happened, USL teams are out drawing MLS clubs.  Major US markets are supporting mutiple teams.  You see investor groups clamoring for a chance to get into MLS.  Teams are popping up in the south, midwest, west coast, seemingly everywhere.  And its been 20 years since MLS formed.  

Realistically I dont think we have the population base, investor groups  etc to get more than a dozen pro teams in Canada.  Lets say the 3 MLS teams plus the 9 CFL sites, plus Halifax and maybe a couple others. 

Hindsight is 20/20, but I doubt there were very many people that could see "the potential of club soccer in the US as of 2017" back around 1992 or 2004.

Who knows what club soccer in Canada will look like around 2040 or so? It's incredibly hard to predict. As Homer said, at least set the foundation right as of now so that both the most pessimistic and the most optimistic long-term scenarios can easily be addressed decades down the road.

The financial stakes that MLS owners have in MLS, and that the Fath brothers have in NASL with their Class B shares, all these financial stakes in the league itself makes the owners do some really selfish things with the money that's at stake.

Totally understandable obviously, but the issue of league ownership by the club owners is something that CPL must mitigate at launch. Whatever the league needs as revenue from the club owners, I hope the business model is set up so that as much of these payments by the club owners are set up as unrecoverable expenses rather than financial stakes in the league.

Or if single entity is unavoidable, then at least let the owners know that a closed D1/D2 setup is possible in the long term if CPL turns out to the success everybody hopes it is. I'm not one of those p/r hardcores that's advocating for an open system for D3 L1O and PLSQ teams and what not.

Edited by ironcub14

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22 hours ago, harrycoyster said:

Let's be clear, MLS hasn't accidentally painted themselves into a corner. The league was purposely structured so that pro/rel would be a nightmare to implement. Nobody is a position of power in US Soccer wanted pro/rel in 1996, and I'm not sure that anybody within the USSF or MLS wants it now. 

If that's true, that's some short-sighted Americans.

But totally understandable, given the US club soccer landscape as of 1995.

But I'm more in agreement with Homer that the short-term financial viability of MLS was their utmost concern at the time, and that any thoughts about p/r at the time would have barely crossed their mind; I do think it's more an unanticipated by-product of success they couldn't foresee. Which is also totally understandable, predicting the future is near damn impossible.

But the sight of USL fanbases holding up cutouts of Garber welcoming him at the airport begging for a spot in MLS makes me sick, and I believe most reasonable soccer fans can agree something is wrong with that picture as well.

Paul Beirne's awesome, but I'm definitely not resorting to that here in Canada, for a Toronto CPL team at launch or anything else in the future :)

Edited by ironcub14

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Hindsight is 20/20, but I doubt there were very many people that could see "the potential of club soccer in the US as of 2017" back around 1992 or 2004.

IRON CUB, Are you serious? Thats all we heard about, the millions of US kids playing youth soccer, potential for growth, the only major country that hasnt embraced soccer etc. How could the NASL fail?   What will it take for US Tv and popular culture to get on board etc. And even the articles back in the 80's, about why Canada is more successful than USA.  If you can believe that eh?? With the sports crazy culture, big population, huge appetite and money for sports TV, the US was ripe for another run at a club soccer. Why do you think a few owners basically wouldnt let the league die until the needle stared to turn around for them?

I hope the CPL will tip the scales for us (like MLS did for  the USA), and interest/support/development will take off.  Then we'll start seeing the payoffs in the youth teams and eventually the CMNT.  Maybe then we'll start seeing a Larin or a Davies coming down the pipe on a regular basis.  Then you and I Cub can be on here talking about how we got robbed in the 2026 WC.  Cheers!  

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