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Posts posted by m-g-williams

  1. On 5/4/2021 at 9:34 AM, m-g-williams said:

    Can't find a clip, but Oliver Platt reiterated the notion of a bubble coming soon in Winnipeg one One Soccer Today yesterday. Fingers crossed this comes through. 

    Edit: They just posted the clip. :)


    Oli was commenting again tonight about how Winnipeg seems to be the front-runner for a bubble to start the season in late June, before a planned transition to home stadia sometime in August. Interestingly, he mentioned that one of the Atlantic provinces was interested in hosting as well, after seeing the success of PEI last summer. My gut tells me this is NB, with Stade Médavie as the potential site. 

    He also said that apparently a bubble down south (Florida or the Carribean) had also been floated, but it sounded like this was less likely.

  2. 12 hours ago, yothat2 said:

    Heard a strong whisper. There's going to be a bubble format for the first half. Won't say where.

    Can't find a clip, but Oliver Platt reiterated the notion of a bubble coming soon in Winnipeg one One Soccer Today yesterday. Fingers crossed this comes through. 

    Edit: They just posted the clip. :)


  3. On 3/30/2021 at 10:37 AM, m-g-williams said:

    Also, for what it's worth: In the absence of official viewership/revenue info from One Soccer, I've been keeping an eye on the numbers from their Youtube Channel. As I write this, they've managed a cumulative total of 2,220,623 views (across all videos) in less than two years, with a big bump (circa 400,000) coming in the last couple of weeks with the Olympic/WC qualifiers. The Canada-Cayman Islands highlights already have 81,630 views - and they were only uploaded 14 hours ago. If they can keep expanding their rights to quality content and bring in more viewers, I think this will start to make a difference not only in paid subscriptions but in people getting more curious about the CPL. 

    Barely a month later, and the numbers keep climbing. At the time of writing, the One Soccer Youtube channel has a cumulative total of 3,103,971 views (across all videos) - about a 50% increase over the total number of views for the last two years! Plus, the Youtube subscribers jumped by nearly 50% in that same month-long timeframe (from 11K to 16.1K now). The CMNT, CWNT and CCL views are overwhelmingly responsible for the uptake, but hopefully getting that many more eyes on the channel will help get more eyes on the CPL videos when the season starts up again. If One Soccer can keep securing broadcasting rights to more quality content, I think things will be looking good. 

  4. Peter Schaale and other Wanderers players are doing some similar work back home by promoting COVID testing. Great to see the teams doing what they can to promote the measures needed to get us all back on track. 

    And if a successful vaccination campaign in MB leads to a bubble tournament at IG Field to kick off the season, well then that would just be a happy coincidence. :)

  5. On 2/10/2021 at 4:53 PM, m-g-williams said:

    At the risk of being being branded a heretic, flogged and otherwise run out of town, I'm going to pose a likely-unpopular but increasingly necessary question regarding 2021 CPL stadia: 

    If and/or when it's announced that a "regular" season with every team playing matches at their home grounds is not feasible due to the pandemic, where should the CPL actually play and in what format? 

    I've been wrestling with this question for a while, though I wish that weren't the case. As much as I want to believe that we'll be able to get back to a more regular season approach, given the pandemic situation (on-and-off lockdown measures, arrival of new variants, continued restrictions on inter-provincial travel, reduced airline service, etc.) and the logistical challenges facing the vaccine roll-out, I'm not holding my breath for a normal May 22nd. Considering the country was only set to be fully vaccinated by September (which seems very doubtful at this point), I don't know that I see a path for us to make the spring and summer work. I fully acknowledge that this is something that could change, and that my somewhat pessimistic view is very much open to debate. For now though, I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on what Plan B should look like. 

    Personally, I'd consider the following:

    Bubble Approach: If things stay more or less the same as they did last summer, then a bubble could be the most feasible option. It saves every team from having to incur travel costs beyond travel to and from the bubble city, though hotel costs would still be incurred. Assuming we can get even a limited number of butts in seats (maybe 20%, depending on the venue/jurisdiction?), the money generated could be split eight ways to provide at least some gate-driven revenue to clubs. A bubble approach with quarantining and testing would show the league as being COVID responsible and not putting the public at risk in the host city, and hopefully earn some praise for the efforts made. And as thankful as I am to the island for hosting the games last summer, I'd *really* like to see a 2021 bubble hosted in a more professional-looking (i.e., non-digital) venue. 

    • Stade Croix-Bleue Medavie (Moncton): Gorgeous little stadium which previously hosted 2015 WWC matches. Not only would the stade be a much more professional-looking venue for TV audiences (and probably better in terms of broadcasting facilities), but there were rumours of expressed interest in hosting the games here last summer. Hosting matches here could be a great way for local investors to gauge interest in a future team and help with expansion. And with the fact that Université de Moncton is looking to run a deficit for the first time in its history due to the pandemic, staging matches here might be seen as a good economic stimulus/means of advertising for U de M. Plus, if/when the Atlantic bubble re-opens this coming summer, that could see folks from all over the Maritimes travelling to take in a game. That said, given the very-low risk tolerance for COVID in Atlantic Canada and the tight restrictions in place, events like this with limited spectators may not fly. 

    • Starlight Stadium (Victoria): Same reasons as above re: venue size, presentation and interest in hosting last year. Plus, with PFC as the primary tenant, the league (presumably) wouldn't have to fight anyone for scheduling, apart from maybe the odd rugby match. Only red-flag for me would be the damn hydro pole impacting TV broadcasts, especially for the entire summer. * sigh* 

    • Spruce Meadows/ATCO Field (Calgary): Same reasons as Starlight re: venue size, presentation. Already a major (though not necessarily primary) tenant, which might help for scheduling. 

    • Clark Field (Edmonton): . . . no.

    • York Lions Stadium: Same reasons as Starlight re: venue size, and with the improvements apparently being made to the site it would hopefully present much better on TV. The biggest red-flag for me would be having all the clubs in York when the GTA is still a COVID hotbed. 

    • Wanderers Grounds (Halifax): Same reasons as Starlight re: venue size, presentation and primary tenant, plus the Atlantic bubble aspect as with Stade Croix-Bleue Medavie. Given the location downtown and the support in 2019, if a limited number of fans are allowed I think we could count on the seats being sold pretty quickly. However, same as for Moncton re: risk-tolerance and allowing fans at all. 

    • Stade TELUS-Université Laval (formerly PEPS) (Quebec): Same reasons as Starlight re: venue size and presentation. And with QC rumoured to be interested in establishing a club, a bubble here could almost act like the SK Summer Series for local investors to see first-hand what kind of interest professional soccer can generate in that market. 

    • Prairieland Park (Saskatoon): Same reasons as Stade TELUS re: venue size and interest gauge for local investors. I don't know it well enough to speak to how it would present on TV, though. 

    • Similarly-sized mid-range stadia: I'm sure there are other spots across the country that might fit the bill, but I can't say I know many. I'm sure there must be spots in metro Vancouver and Montreal I don't know about, as well as others. Any ideas? 

    • IG Field (Winnipeg), TD Place (Ottawa) or Tim Hortons Field (Hamilton): I put these in the same category just given their size and circumstances. For each one, scheduling an entire bubble season in a single location would seem impossible due to conflicts with the CFL tenants, but the presentation on TV would be excellent in my opinion (*yes*, the stadium would look kind of empty because it's large, but given the pandemic I don't think anyone would be mad at us for that). Also, the high seating capacity could see a larger number of fans admitted if limits are established as a percentage threshold (e.g., if 20% capacity is allowed at IG Field and they're able to use the whole thing - not just one side of the lower bowl -, that could translate into an upper limit of 6,000 spread-out fans). The actual number of people who decide to attend wouldn't be guaranteed to match that higher limit of course, but at least it allows for greater revenue.  

    • Similarly-sized large stadia: Thinking McMahon Stadium (Calgary), Molson whatever-it's-called (Montreal) and Mosaic Stadium (Regina). Would likely run into the same scheduling issues given the CFL tenants, but also the same presentation/capacity benefits. Commonwealth Stadium would seem comically large (even I can't justify going there in a pandemic), so I'm just ignoring that for the purposes of this exercise. I doubt that access would be granted to BC Place, BMO Field or Stade Saputo given the MLS tenants there (and CFL scheduling for some), so I'm not even considering these.  

    Hub City Approach: If things are good enough that inter-provincial travel (without 14-day quarantining) is feasible in some but not all jurisdictions, then an NHL-style hub city approach could be doable. There would be slightly greater travel costs incurred by clubs as the tournament moves into its later stages (i.e., finalist teams from each hub move to one or another city to continue competing), but less than in a regular season format. Given that we only have eight teams, I would we could only do a max of two hub cities. The league could benefit from a large "local" fanbase/potential ticket-holder pool and avoid market saturation, which would hopefully mean more gate-driven revenue to split among the teams. This approach could also likely accommodate more matches and a longer season than a bubble approach, which would be great for league visibility and revenue (I hope). 

    Admittedly, with two hub cities you'd only have four teams competing in a given city, which might get boring pretty quickly. I guess you could have half the teams in each city switch to the other venue halfway through the season so the matches against every single team are balanced, but it could still get dull just having a new set of repeat games all the time. However, there might be a way to avoid that getting old if we do kind of a "Hub Light™ " approach (Trademarked, 2021 ;)).

    Hub Light™ Approach (recommend): If it's possible to have two hub cities within a single province/region (Victoria and Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina, Hamilton and Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, Halifax and Moncton, Winnipeg and . . . uh . . . Flin Flon?), then you could conceivably have teams travel back and forth without having them quarantine - and thereby keep a relatively normal schedule. Rather than keeping four teams cloistered in each location for weeks on end before then mixing it up in later stages, you could have them commute back-and-forth between venues (which, if done in a single province/region, could presumably be done on the cheap via chartered bus/ferry) and keep the fans happy with a continuous mix of teams. Also, this model *might* actually make it feasible to include CFL stadia in the mix as there wouldn't be the same scheduling pressures on any one venue. It could well be that Mosaic Stadium has enough time to host some games while Prairieland does the rest, or that TD Place and Tim Hortons Field can make the scheduling work between the two of them, kind of like during the WWC in 2015. If an involved CFL stadium has a particularly busy week, you could conceivably shift some matches, at least temporarily, to the other site to alleviate the pressure. 

    I'll note that these are only my musings/ramblings and are 100% not informed by any kind of analysis of the event schedules for any of the venues listed above. I also don't know enough about the peculiarities of the venues (ease of access via highways/public transit, average ticket prices, etc.) to know which ones may or may not have an edge over others when it comes to the finer details. But considering 1) I don't see us getting back to any kind of "normal" in the next few months, 2) the pandemic has almost certainly had a negative impact on the finances of a league in its infancy, 3) the need for some kind of play for continued relevancy/PR and the need for some kind of ticket revenue, and 4) the concerns almost every single one of us have raised in the past regarding travel costs in a country this large, I think a Hub Light™ approach would be the most feasible way of seeing the CPL get back to work.

    The Maritimer in me would love to see this done in Halifax and Moncton, but I'd also love to see Saskatoon and Regina or Montreal (not sure of the right stadium) and Quebec. I'd be curious to hear other people's thoughts on factors I'm not considering (e.g., what COVID numbers are like on Vancouver Island vs. the mainland, other local sports that the CPL may need to compete with in each city), as well as any insights on additional venues I haven't mentioned/thought of. 

    Let the outrage/pondering/hypothesizing/fantasy planning commence. 

    prepare black sails GIF by STARZ

    Given the current COVID situation in most of the country, it sounds like different options/locations are being seriously considered by the league. I'm particularly curious about the east-west Hub model Oli mentions. My gut tells me that the Wanderers Grounds/Stade Medavie back home and ATCO Field/Starlight Stadium out west would be the best venues for this sort of thing. I'd still lean toward having two hub cities within a single province/region so teams can travel back and forth, but time will tell. 


  6. Two non sequitur notes: 

    1) I know that there's a cost involved, but for all those who are finding the resolution on One Soccer to be lacking with Chrome Cast, I really can't say enough things about the Roku stick. Not too pricey (about $70 on Amazon), very stable stream (I've never had audio lag, and I don't think I've ever dropped the stream), full HD resolution (One Soccer has really upped their game since launch in 2019) and with the Roku Channel giving access to (select) free Liga and Ligue 1 matches, I'd say it's definitely worth it. 

    2) For those watching the TFC - Leon match tonight: I see the usual ads from One Soccer, VW, All State, etc., but I'm also seeing ads for some kind of car show/network called REV Canada. Does anyone know what this is? They don't seem to be a sponsor and it doesn't look like their content would be aired on One Soccer, so I'm genuinely confused as to what's happening. Maybe it's some sort of weird cross-network ad for beIN Sports content under the LOSC deal, but nowhere am I seeing any beIN branding on this. 

  7. 4 hours ago, Kent said:

    It's an angle I hadn't thought of until Ozzie brought it up, but I can see the logic. How do you solve any big problem? First you break it down. If the CFL and XFL merge, and as Naylor suggests this newly merged league gets rid of Canadian quotas and 3 down football, and is no longer a 9 team league, that changes a LOT. Suddenly the league is a lot less strictly Canadian, a lot less reliant on Toronto (for appearances sake) and losing 1 team isn't as big a deal. The league would (assuming it is successful and stable) have 16 teams still if Toronto left. So the NFL coming to Toronto would no longer be seen as America killing the CFL or anything like that. We would have already let them seep into our football landscape.

    I can see how merging with the XFL could be the halfway point to getting an NFL team. OK, maybe a third of a way there, getting rid of the Argos and getting acceptance of an NFL team being a third, and getting a stadium being a very significant chunk of it as well.

    I won't profess to being an expert on gridiron but from what I understand, non-NFL professional football hasn't exactly had stellar results in the US. Seeing the XFL go bankrupt twice in the last 20 years (though the latest time was admittedly a result of the pandemic) and with the CFL American expansion debacle in the 90s, I can't say that I'm convinced the latest iteration of the XFL will fare much better. I get that the CFL may be in a bind financially and struggling with its fanbase, but hitching their wagon to the latest NFL challenger doesn't strike me as a good idea. 

    I came across an interesting doc last night on Netflix on how cricket essentially re-invented itself through the advent of one-day internationals and T20 matches when they started to lose relevance in the 70s and 80s. I understand even less about cricket than I do about gridiron, but I have to say, it was impressive to see how English cricket officials took a very hard look in the mirror to see what could be changed to better adapt to changing demographics and audience preferences. I'd hope the CFL would take a similar approach and find ways to attract a new generation of Canadian fans rather than trust a not-entirely-convincing opportunity south of the border. 

  8. Apologies if this has already been discussed here and I missed it: Is there no way to hear English-language commentary for the Liga MX matches on One Soccer? I've had no issues for their Ligue 1 coverage, and the few Brasileiro matches I've checked out have been fine. But for the life of me I can't figure out the Liga MX ones (which is a shame, because I'd love to get into that league more). 

  9. 9 hours ago, CPLinsider said:

    The inter province initiative talked about confirms FC Manitoba plays the div2 show case tourney with Chill + Scottish in July. Hapgood is leading the charge for this from Calgary.

    Also hearing that SK Belan group is still involved & Vaughan (possibly) here out east.

    That's all encouraging news! I guess there might be some benefits to the pandemic after all. 

    Also . . . isn't Vaughan in the GTA?

  10. 2 hours ago, dyslexic nam said:

    Honestly, this is the first time I have subbed to a streaming service other than Netflix and I am loving it.  It isn’t perfect - I often get an error message when trying to cast it to my Apple TV (and my smart TV is too dumb to load new apps onto it) but the value is definitely there for anyone that is a fan of Canadian footy.  

    I originally saw it basically as a way to subsidize the CPL, but the fact is that they went all in on Canadian soccer.  And with the duration of the agreement that takes them out past 2026, I assume they will seek out opportunities to continue to enhance the value of the product until that time.  Grabbing the CCL games is a great example of that. 

    Glitches and confusing-lack-of-on-demand-immediately-after-a-match-has-finished, I'm pretty happy with the service. If you had told me two or three years ago that I could sign up for a single streaming service that included the CPL, Can Champ, CMNT, CWNT, CCL and (select) top flight matches from France, Mexico and Brazil, I'd have thought you were mad. If they can slowly expand to include other leagues (MLS, Scottish Premiership, A-League, more Ligue 1), I think this could really take off. 

    Also, for what it's worth: In the absence of official viewership/revenue info from One Soccer, I've been keeping an eye on the numbers from their Youtube Channel. As I write this, they've managed a cumulative total of 2,220,623 views (across all videos) in less than two years, with a big bump (circa 400,000) coming in the last couple of weeks with the Olympic/WC qualifiers. The Canada-Cayman Islands highlights already have 81,630 views - and they were only uploaded 14 hours ago. If they can keep expanding their rights to quality content and bring in more viewers, I think this will start to make a difference not only in paid subscriptions but in people getting more curious about the CPL. 

  11. A few key points for the non-French speakers among us: 

    • Expecting to have 16-20 players signed by the end of the training camp (3-4 weeks from now)
    • A lot of effort has gone into scouting and building the right team after losing players like Fisk and Acuna
    • On the subject of a start date for the CPL season: "If we're going to the trouble of getting our players together in Spain, it's because we've had some good news telling us we have good reason to move forward" - Fernando Lopez
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