Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton FC Edmonton likely to boost number of Fort McMurray “home” games in 2015

FC Edmonton likely to boost number of Fort McMurray “home” games in 2015

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FC Edmonton announced earlier this year that it would be playing an NASL match in Fort McMurray in the 2015 season.

Now, the team says that it’s likely that two or three league games will be played in Canada’s oil-sands territory next season.

Because Edmonton hosts more games than any other city at next year’s Women’s World Cup, Clarke Stadium won’t be available for six weeks, through June and into the first week of July. Clarke Stadium is adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium, and wouldn’t be available when FIFA takes over the site.

The number of games FCE would play in Fort Mac would depend on when the NASL schedules its break between the spring and fall seasons. But, as of right now, the team has indicated that it looks like at least two dates in June could go to Fort Mac. That could go as high as three.

The league does not want to put FCE on a six-game road trip (again, depending on the break) when the Women’s World Cup comes to Canada. Of course, the WWC also brings up issues for the Ottawa Fury and its stadium, TD Place.

But, after talking to FCE’s brass today, it’s clear that there isn’t much fretting about needing to go up to Fort McMurray, which is 435 km northeast of the capital. Fort McMurray gives the team access to some of the most powerful potential sponsors in the country. And getting soccer onto the radar of Canada’s oil producers could be a major coup for the NASL and for the game in this country. But to get soccer onto the radar of the oil sector, you need to bring the pro game to its backyard.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the oil sands produce 885,000 barrels of oil per day, and the revenue generated by the industry was nearly $50 billion per year. It’s an industry that badly needs to improve its image, and what better way than to promote the improvement of soccer in Canada? It would serve the likes of Suncor and Syncrude so much more to get behind sport than it would to try ad campaigns that don’t change opinions of oil-sands opponents.

There are direct flights from Denver to Fort McMurray, so the games shouldn’t pose too much of an issue for the road team.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Chris Steedman

    January 25, 2015 at 3:40 am

    There are no more international flights to Fort McMurray, the visiting team will have probably just have to switch airlines and take the 45 minute flight.

    I live up here and Im not sure which way this will go. The sponsorship dollars will be there, so great business deal, but it will be hit or miss on the crowd. I’ll be there, but don’t know how many of the 70-80,000 will show.

    I hope that FC Edmonton will not isolate their supporter group ESG. It’d be a great show of good-will if they were to rent a bus and bring the fanatics up for the day game.

    Reply

  2. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    July 22, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Why are they not playing in Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon where they should be promoting NASL expansion…Ft.Mac has $$$$ and that is the only reason they would go there….

    Reply

  3. Soccerfan

    July 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I think people think oil companies just hand out money. It is a misconception that oil companies will simply align themselves with any organization and just give out money. There must be hundreds of people, organizations, non-profits and sports teams at the youth level or semi professional level that want money. Red Deer would have been a much better idea. As well, that place is a hockey town. Yes, our beautiful game is growing exponentially but it is very difficult to imagine a NASL team having any impact there other than one Saturday night against Carolina.

    Reply

  4. Seathanaich

    July 14, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Fort McMurray has a largely transient population, most of which is from somewhere other than Alberta. Doing this will be unlikely to build long-term FCE fans. What facility is there? I have no doubt people would come out because there are no entertainment options in FMM; but this doesn’t seem like a good place to hold more than one game.

    Red Deer is a better option, if a usable facility exists. It’s actually close enough to Edmonton, and contains enough people with an emotional attachment to Alberta that the club could possibly grow its fan base by having an exhibition game there.

    Either way, surely Clarke Stadium could be used for a three hour period by FCE. It’s not like actual games are going to be at Clarke, just teams practicing, surely?

    Reply

    • Steven Sandor

      July 14, 2014 at 3:41 am

      But the corporate dollars in Fort McMurray dwarf the corporate dollars in Red Deer. Heck, they dwarf the corporate dollars of many small nations. And that’s the key.

      They will play at SMS Equipment Stadium at Shell Place. Eskimos are also playing a preseason game there in 2015.
      http://www.macdonaldisland.ca/shell-place/venues/sms-stadium

      Reply

      • Seathanaich

        July 14, 2014 at 3:45 am

        Brilliant. I didn’t know that exists. If Eskimos are playing there, then it’s obviously a good idea for FC Edmonton too.

        Reply

      • Chris

        July 16, 2014 at 5:53 am

        The corporate offices for Syncrude and others are in Calgary. That’s where the corporate dollars are. Maybe FCE should play those games in Calgary. It could provide a boost for those looking at a future Calgary NASL team.

        Reply

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