Opening weekend attendance grows by 67 per cent year over year
Toronto, ON – (April 17, 2023) – More than 20,000 Canadian soccer fans packed Canadian Premier League (CPL) stadiums over opening weekend of the League’s milestone fifth season, a 67 per cent increase in attendance compared to 2022.
A total of 20,366 CPL fans attended the weekend’s four matches between Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16, which were held at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Ont. Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont., York Lions Stadium in York Region, Ont. and Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C. TD Place Stadium, York Lions Stadium and Starlight Stadium also played host on opening weekend in 2022, when 12,210 fans attended the League’s first four matches.
The action this year began with new-look Halifax Wanderers FC holding 2022 regular season champion Atlético Ottawa to a 1-1 draw in front of 7,042 boisterous fans in the nation’s capital. A portion of each ticket sold for that game, as well as a portion of the collection from the match’s 50-50 draw, is earmarked for donation to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
It was then over to Hamilton for the latest chapter in a longstanding rivalry between 2022 playoff champion Forge FC and Cavalry FC. The 6,892 fans in attendance in Hamilton were not disappointed, as both Forge’s Noah Jensen and Cavalry’s Miki Cantave scored early contenders for goal of the season with a pair of sublime strikes in the 2-2 draw.
Fans on the west coast showed similar enthusiasm, not only for the return of the CPL season but for the launch of the League’s new B.C. derby, as Pacific FC hosted expansion side Vancouver FC at Starlight Stadium in front of a sellout crowd. VFC pushed its local rival in the club’s inaugural match, but it was Pacific midfielder Manny Aparicio who got most of the game’s 4,825 attendees out of their seats in the 81st minute, when he scored a long-range effort for the home team that secured a late 1-0 victory.
The weekend’s schedule wrapped up on Sunday, when a loud and engaged crowd of 1,607 watch Valour FC earn its first road win of the season at York Lions Stadium with a 2-0 victory over York United FC.
The memorable opening weekend is just the start of an exciting first week of play for CPL teams, with all eight clubs competing in the first round of Canadian Championship action this week.
On Tuesday, April 18, Forge hosts FC Laval of Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec (7 p.m. ET, Tim Hortons Field). Wednesday, April 19 will see Halifax Wanderers take on Atlético Ottawa (5 p.m. ET/6 p.m. AT, York Lions Stadium); Vancouver face York United (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, York Lions Stadium); and Valour visit TSS Rovers of League1 BC (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 PT). The first round of Canadian Championship play wraps up on Thursday, April 20 when Pacific hosts Cavalry at Starlight Stadium (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. ET).
The winner of this year’s Canadian Championship will earn a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions League, one of three chances CPL clubs have this season to earn their way into the prestigious regional competition.
CPL fans still looking forward to cheering on their teams in person at their club’s home opener don’t have long to wait. The next three weekends of CPL play all feature at least one home opener. Valour will play its first match of 2023 at IG Field on Saturday, April 22 against Atlético Ottawa; Halifax Wanderers make their 2023 home debut on Saturday, April 29 against Vancouver; Cavalry returns to ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows on Sunday, April 30 against Valour; and Vancouver is scheduled to host its first home match at Willoughby Park at the Langley Events Centre on Sunday, May 7 against Cavalry.
Week two of CPL action continues Saturday, April 22. For more information regarding the 2023 CPL schedule and to purchase tickets, click here. Those fans who are unable to attend matches in person can catch all CPL regular season and playoff matches as well as Canadian Championship games by tuning in to dedicated soccer channel OneSoccer, available to all Canadian households through OneSoccer.ca, via Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV devices and with the OneSoccer app for iOS and Android devices. OneSoccer is also available as a linear channel on Optik TV (Ch.980), the pay-TV service operated by TELUS, one of Canada’s ‘big three’ telecoms companies, as well as on streaming service fuboTV Canada. The 2023 season will also be available to fans abroad through Fox Sports in the United States, Flow Sports across the Caribbean as well as through other selected broadcasters worldwide and globally through the OneSoccer website and app.