Atletico Madrid secure Ottawa franchise for CPL’s second season

January 30 – The Canadian Premier League (CPL) has green lighted an Ottawa franchise team run by Spanish club Atletico Madrid. 

The Spanish club is seeking to gain greater exposure in North America and were officially awarded the club with the franchise rights. Madrid have brought Ottawa businessman Jeff Hunt, an owner of the Redblacks and the Ottawa 67’s Ontario Hockey League team, on board as a strategic partner.

The new franchise will play at the 24,000-seater TD Place, home to the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Redblacks.

“We are delighted to be part of such an exciting project in an amazing country,” said Atletico Madrid Chief Executive Miguel Ángel Gil Marín. “We would like to bring our expertise to a very strong and structured league and will work together with the CPL and the rest of the clubs to contribute to the growth of Canadian soccer.”

“We want Ottawa soccer fans to be able to feel proud of belonging to the Atlético de Madrid family so we can start sharing our values with them.”

In the past, Atletico Madrid has seen franchises as part of a strategy to build its brand. They had a Kolkata franchise in the Indian Super League, but broke up after the league’s third season in 2017, unhappy about how the franchise was run on the ground. That same year, Atletico Madrid also announced that they’d obtain a majority stake in Mexico’s San Luis. The club now compete as Atletico San Luis in Mexico’s Liga MX.

“We are very excited to launch the club with one of the world’s most iconic and successful soccer brands and look forward to them taking to the pitch for the 2020 CPL season,” said CPL Commissioner David Clanachan.

The announcement brings top tier football back to the Canadian capital. In 2019, Ottawa Fury were forced to suspend operations after failing to secure a license.  The Ottawa franchise will become the professional league’s eighth team when the CPL’s second season begins in April. They join teams in Langford, B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto and Halifax.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1582500183labto1582500183ofdlr1582500183owedi1582500183sni@o1582500183fni1582500183