Home Business of Soccer GolTV Canada will broadcast FC Edmonton matches for the rest of the 2012 season

GolTV Canada will broadcast FC Edmonton matches for the rest of the 2012 season

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Steven Sandor, left, and Gareth Hampshire in the FCETV broadcast booth.
If you subscribe to GolTV Canada, you’ll have noticed that — with very little fanfare — taped broadcasts of FC Edmonton matches from earlier in the 2012 NASL season were being rotated through the schedule.

This week, M31, the company which produces the FC Edmonton broadcasts which air live on TEAM 1260 and CBC.ca, confirmed that it has finalized a deal with GolTV Canada which would see all remaining 2012 FCE home broadcasts air on the national soccer specialty channel. All of the games broadcast on GolTV Canada will appear on a tape-delay basis. Sunday matches will air on the following Wednesdays.

As well, four homes games — July 15 vs. Tampa Bay as well as three dates in September, will be broadcast live on Shaw. Last year Shaw (channel 10 in Edmonton) carried games on a tape-delay basis.

The games are called by play-by-play man Gareth Hampshire and myself on colour.

Personally, I am excited to see any kind of effort that brings more national focus onto FC Edmonton and the NASL. Far too often we see journalists and fans refer to the “three” Canadian pro teams when, in fact, there are four — as recognized by our national championship.

But that attitude is slowly changing. A lot of the feedback I get about our FCE broadcasts comes from soccer fans outside of Metro Edmonton, who tune in to watch the team they’ve adopted as their NASL squad of choice, or are curious Canadian soccer enthusiasts who simply want to see how Edmonton’s play-local-players-first mentality is working in an American-dominated pro league.

I know from that feedback that a lot of Vancouver Whitecaps fans are tuning into FCE games, as there is a lot of Eddies’ discussion generated out of Vancouver. That fan base grew after FCE and Vancouver met in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal earlier this year. There isn’t a bitter rivalry between those clubs, and when Edmonton showed well in the second leg at BC Place, it helped stimulate some of the Caps fans into following the Eddies, at least on a part-time basis. And, with so many ex-Whitecaps Residency prospects on FCE, that also helped pique interest.

I think it’s safe to say that, for the fans in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto who respect second-division soccer, FCE has become their second-favourite team. And that, in some ways, has made the club easier to sell outside of the Edmonton market than inside the Alberta capital. I can track that hypothesis through the hits I get on FC Edmonton stories that are posted on this site. I see that FCE stories track impressively when compared to the three Canadian MLS clubs.

With Ottawa coming into NASL for the 2014 season, and commissioner David Downs aggressively seeking new expansion partners, it isn’t that far-fetched to think that NASL could have more Canadian representation than MLS within five to 10 years. As talk about a national Div. 2 fades and is replaced by discussion about creating a national umbrella for Div. 3 clubs, the need for more Canadian clubs in NASL becomes critical for helping our domestic game develop.

So, a tape-delay arrangement with GolTV Canada is just another small step in bringing NASL closer to being part of the national discussion about the state of soccer in Canada.

RELATED:
FC Edmonton broadcasts move to CBC.ca, return to TEAM 1260 radio (CLICK)

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