In 2015, when FC Edmonton was in the NASL, Tom Fath said that, even if Clarke Stadium was to be sold out every game, the team would still lose money. The hope was that a full stadium would lead to a bigger venue and better sponsorship deals down the road which would lead the team towards “in the black” status.
“In the long run, assuming we get the corporate, assuming we get the corporate sponsorship support we need, we’d need 8,000 to 9,000 (fans) a game to make it work,” said Fath at the time.
CPL salaries are lower than they were in the NASL, but travel costs remain high in a league that stretches from Vancouver Island to Halifax.
The Faths thought they had a revenue stream coming through M31 Design Group, their video production and broadcasting arm. It broadcast FC Edmonton games throughout its years in the NASL, and was initially meant to keep those rights when the team joined the CPL. They upgrading their broadcast technology ahead of the kickoff of the inaugural CPL season, in 2019.
That scheme would have allowed FC Edmonton to keep its broadcasting rights, while the other CPL teams signed on with OneSoccer, the Canadian arm of Spanish-based, Chinese-owned broadcast giant, MediaPro. That plan was aborted shortly before the league began play and FC Edmonton became part of the MediaPro deal.
Now that revenue seems to be at risk. MediaPro has a 10-year-deal with the CPL, but the company flirted with bankruptcy during the pandemic, and asked the Spanish government for 230 million Euros worth of bailout money. Orient Hontai, the Chinese owner, injected 620 million Euros of new money into the company in 2021 to save it from creditors.