HomeBroadcastCanadian Soccer Business reclaims broadcast rights amid legal dispute with Mediapro

Canadian Soccer Business reclaims broadcast rights amid legal dispute with Mediapro

Canadian Soccer Business reclaims broadcast rights amid legal dispute with Mediapro

Canadian Soccer Business (CSB), the commercial arm of Canada Soccer, has decided to reclaim broadcast rights from Mediapro as an ongoing legal dispute with its domestic media partner rages on.

Since its establishment in 2018, CSB has been responsible for managing all rights associated with Canada’s men’s and women’s national soccer teams, as well as overseeing the marketing and commercial aspects of the Canadian Premier League (CPL).

Mediapro, a Barcelona-based company, secured rights to a range of Canadian soccer properties in 2019, including the CPL and the national teams, with games broadcasted on its OneSoccer streaming service as part of a ten-year deal with CSB.

However, CSB has taken legal action against Mediapro, alleging that the latter failed to fulfill significant contractual obligations, including defaulting on most of its rights fees for 2023 and failing to expand the audience for Canada’s national teams, the Canadian Championship and the CPL.

“Our decision to pursue legal action was not one we took lightly, but we felt it was necessary to protect the tremendous investments we have made to build the game in Canada,” CSB said in a statement.

“By taking back full control of our rights we will immediately have the opportunity to do so with new partners who have the ability to reach larger audiences.”

The dispute involves millions of dollars, leaving OneSoccer without its primary Canadian content and prompting Canada Soccer to search for a new broadcast partner ahead of upcoming events such as the Concacaf W Gold Cup and the 2024 CPL season.

Mediapro has responded by accusing CSB of not upholding their commercial agreement and has sought to terminate the contract, citing its commitment to its global business and partners.

Despite the legal standoff, Canada Soccer remains hopeful for a resolution, stating, “We are aware of today’s update and look forward to working with our partners to ensure that Canadian soccer fans are able to follow our national teams and the Canadian Championship.

“Our properties, our players and our teams are premium sports content, and we look forward to continue telling those stories nationally and well beyond our borders.”

CSB’s decision to part ways with Mediapro aims to facilitate broader distribution of matches and attract new broadcast outlets, addressing previous frustrations with the limited availability of matches on major platforms.

Mediapro’s venture into Canadian soccer, highlighted by the launch of OneSoccer, was initially aimed at creating a dedicated platform for the sport in the country. However, the company faced challenges, including the premature termination of its partnership with Ligue 1 in 2020 due to payment issues.

Mediapro offered a rebuttal and counteraccusation in a statement of its own:

“Despite the huge passion Canadians have for soccer, it has become clear that CSB has been and will be unable to fulfil its side of our commercial agreement,” Mediapro’s statement read.

“We have made best efforts to work with the CSB on a constructive path forward, but have come to a position where we have no choice but to seek to terminate our agreement.

“We continue to be excited by the many great things happening in Canadian soccer, but have taken this step in the interests of our global business and our many partners around the world. As this matter is now before the Ontario Superior Court, we will have no further comment.”

With the legal dispute ongoing and key developments unfolding, the future of Canadian soccer broadcasting remains uncertain, with both CSB and Mediapro looking to navigate through the complexities of the situation.

Image credit: Cold, Indrid

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