On the eve of the World Cup in Qatar, Canada Soccer has announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that involves Canada's national teams, the Canadian Premier League and grassroots soccer.
The deal will see CIBC’s logo "prominently placed" on the men’s, women’s and para national teams’ training apparel as well as Canada Soccer House in Doha.
The CIBC logo becomes the front-of-jersey sponsor for Vancouver FC, the newest addition to the CPL, and will serve as sleeve sponsor for the other CPL teams.
Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane called the deal "historic and significant," citing the level of investment "right across the sport."
Under a separate agreement that dates back to 2018, Canada Soccer Business represents all corporate partnerships and broadcast rights for the men's and women's national team programs as well as all commercial assets of the CPL including partnership and media assets of each club.
Canada Soccer gets an annual payment from Canada Soccer Business. Cochrane declined to detail whether Canada Soccer gets any extra money out of the new sponsorship deal.
"We don't get into details around agreements or relationships that we have with either our partners or our agents or brokers," Cochrane said in an interview. "I'll just say that the investment is significant … in that it's going to have a very deep impact on the sport right across the country and right from the entry into the game all the way up to the peak of the pyramid at our national teams program."
Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis has said there is an opportunity to "grow the agreement" with Canada Soccer Business deal, through sports gambling and "hard liquor" avenues that were not available when the agreement was signed.
"We believe that there's a tremendous amount of commercial upside if we open up these two categories both for Canada Soccer and our partners to help build revenue in the organization," he said Wednesday on "Behind the Bench," a weekly coaching webcast presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada (NSCAC).
Asked if the CIBC deal would help efforts to start a domestic women's pro league, Cochrane said only: "It will have an impact right across the sport."
CIBC also becomes the title sponsor of Canada Soccer’s Active Start Soccer Fest, a national youth development program aimed at children under 12.
Mark Noonan, who doubles as CPL commissioner and CEO of Canadian Soccer Business, said "the entire Canadian soccer ecosystem will directly benefit from the investment CIBC is making."
Canada Soccer partnered with Bank of Montreal from 2009 to 2014.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2022.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press