It is the sort of exposure any start-up operation would relish, especially one in as underserved a market as Canadian soccer.
Island-club Pacific FC will be featured three times on national television broadcasts in the inaugural Canadian Premier League season.
CBC announced Thursday it will broadcast 10 CPL games across its full national network. The broadcasts will be produced and packaged by Spanish sports TV giant Mediapro as part of its 10-year, $200-million deal to produce all CPL and Canadian national team games.
“We are ecstatic. This is foundational. This will help grow the beautiful game in Canada,” said Pacific FC co-owner and president Josh Simpson.
The CPL broadcasts on CBC begin with the league’s inaugural fixture on April 27 between York9 of Greater Toronto and Forge FC from Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Pacific FC will be broadcast nationally on CBC in away games at Halifax against the HFX Wanderers on June 1 and at York9 in Greater Toronto on June 15 and at home from Westhills Stadium in Langford on Sept. 14 against FC Edmonton.
Scott Russell and Andi Petrillo from CBC Sports will co-host the coverage, with the play-by-play provided by Gareth Wheeler and colour commentary by former Canada-capped player Terry Dunfield, and Nigel Reed will add additional editorial commentary.
A further 10 CPL games will be livestreamed by CBC, including York9’s visit to Westhills Stadium on May 18 and Pacific FC’s visit to York9 on Aug. 17.
“The MLS paid for its broadcasting for 13 years before it got a deal. We got a broadcasting deal in our first year,” said Victoria-raised Simpson, a former European pro player, who was capped 43 times for Canada.
“Now, Mediapro has taken it one step forward and landed CBC. This is as good as it gets.”
Pacific FC opens with its inaugural game in franchise history April 28 against HFX Wanderers at Westhills Stadium.