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dsqpr

CPL - 7 Team Schedule and Champion

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So, it looks likely that there will be 7 teams in the inaugural CPL season. This thread is for ideas on what the schedule could look like and credible ways to crown a champion.

The Valour season ticket is for 15 home matches and they have said that 14 of them will be regular season (so 28 total). I assume other clubs will say the same thing.

Edited by dsqpr

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With 8 teams there was a very natural 28 game double interlocking schedule and hence no need for playoffs. I'm sure this is what the league was counting on with their 28 game regular season announcement.

My suggestion is this:

1. Play the natural double interlocking schedule with 7 teams. That is 24 matches per team.

2. Once that is complete, you will have a league table with the teams fairly ranked 1-7.

3. Now play a single game round robin, which is 6 matches per team for a total of 30. Accumulated points are retained, so you end with a final league table where each team has played 30 matches. This would clearly not be balanced in terms of home/away, but here is the key: give each team the advantage of playing at HOME against the closest rivals that finished below them. So:

3a. 1 plays at home against 2, 3, and 4 and away against 5, 6, and 7.

3b. 2 plays at home against 3, 4, and 5 and away against 6, 7, and 1.

...

3g. 7 plays at home against 1, 2, and 3 and away against 4, 5, and 6.

Further, 1 gets a bye in the first week and then plays ever more difficuly opponents, ending with 1v2 on the final day. 7 gets the bye on the final day. So:

1vBye

7v1

1v4

6v1

1v3

5v1

1v2

The rest of the schedule can be fleshed out from there, giving preference to #2.

The final round of matches is sort of like a playoff round (although all previous points are retained), giving an advantage for finishing higher, and I think this would result in a credible champion being the team with the most points over the 30 matches. Certainly more credible than a team that finished 2nd and 10 points behind winning a single playoff final against the team that finished 1st.

There are a couple of disadvantages:

1. It contradicts the already announced 28 game regular season. But given the circumstances I see this as unimportant.

2. With the bye each week, it takes 7 match days for every team to play 6 matches. Hence 35 match days for each team to play 30 matches. It would be a squeeze to fit it in (but definitely do-able).

Edited by dsqpr

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Seven teams really messes up what I thought would happen. I imagined two conferences with an unbalanced schedule to save costs where the top two from each conference make the semis; now you are forced to do a single table of some sort (and tbf, maybe they were always thinking about doing a single table).

I don't like the championship round idea. I don't think any nation that has implemented it has had their fans happy with it. I don't think credibility is as important, and I also think there are a few ways to achieve enough credibility. I do think simplicity is important for the CPL -- soccer is wacky enough as it is, championship rounds are wonky and uninteresting. The only other options that come to mind are:

1. No playoff/championship round, single table winner wins; or

2. Playoffs with however many teams you want.

I honestly don't know what I'd do.

 

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There was an article on CanPL.ca where Clanachan said they were looking at an unbalanced schedule.  Not ideal but no way around it with 7 teams.  Wouldn't be surprised if they do 4x6 and then just tack on 4 more games against randomly-selected opponents.

If they really wanted to be crazy (yet balanced), they could split the league after 24 games (4x6) - having the top 4 teams play double-round-robin against each other (2x3=6 games) for the league championship, and the bottom 3 teams play double-round-robin against each other (2x2=4 games) for funsies.  Still meets your minimum 28 game requirement, has playoffs (for North American style hype), yet is still balanced and prevents single-game upsets.

 

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The minute it set in that Ottawa was out they should have just stuck to a balanced schedule for the 7 teams.  No one would have especially cared if they were paying for 12 home matches or 14.  Throw in some bling  if you feel like you have to make up for some perceived loss of value.  

Like the idea of sticking to a balanced schedule and some sort of season ending split.  As has been mentioned, if we need to get to 30 matches total, you could just do a 1 final 6 matches against your 6 opponents.  3 home, 3 away and add the results from the balanced schedule.  Not perfect but pretty good I think.   Advantage of knowing the full season schedule (and opponent) at the start of the schedule.

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23 hours ago, SkuseisLoose said:

I wonder if it will be a 30 game schedule where you'll play home and away twice and then play 3 of the teams at home and the other 3 away. Which would make the 15 home games

Its a 28 game season with 14 home and a Canadian Championship match.

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3 hours ago, CDNFootballer said:

Its a 28 game season with 14 home and a Canadian Championship match.

When I signed up for my Winnipeg Valour season tickets I was told that the 15 games would be 14 regular season games plus either one playoff game or one pre-season game (yuk!), and that Canadian Championship games would be an additional purchase; and that the league was in the process of deciding between playoff vs pre-season for that extra game (no mention of what would happen if you don't get a home playoff game and I did not think to ask).

Personally, I am adamantly opposed to including pre-season games in a season ticket. They are always glorified scrimmages and (in England anyway) are priced accordingly. Don't rip off your STH in season one.

As I said in my post at the start this thread, there is a way to play that 5th round robin, with 3 home matches and 3 away, that results in a credible champion without any playoff. If you schedule that last round robin randomly between home/away, you run a serious risk of giving a home advantage in critical games to teams that have done nothing to deserve it: which would detract from the credibility of your champion, if the "wrong" team wins at home in a deciding match. We do not want any chance that the schedule determines the champion, that would be "bush league" and you can be sure that detractors would be all over it.

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Judging from the latest quotes from David Clanachan on the CanPL website I suspect they are leaning towards a playoff format now due to the concern over what happens if there is a lack of competitive parity rendering many/most of the games meaningless in terms of the overall outcome from late July onwards. You need to have relegation in place to keep things interesting at both ends of the standings in a regular season only format.

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5 hours ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

Judging from the latest quotes from David Clanachan on the CanPL website I suspect they are leaning towards a playoff format now due to the concern over what happens if there is a lack of competitive parity rendering many/most of the games meaningless in terms of the overall outcome from late July onwards. You need to have relegation in place to keep things interesting at both ends of the standings in a regular season only format.

If there is a "lack of competitive parity" then playoffs will do nothing for the teams at the bottom. They will not have a chance of making the playoffs or winning the league. And what about the teams at the top? Once they are assured a playoff place, are all their remaining matches meaningless?

Matches do not become "meaningless" just because you no longer have a chance to win the league or get relegated. By that criteria many English Premier League matches would be meaningless, yet fans still care about these matches. People go to enjoy watching the football and the experience. When you are in the hunt for a trophy that is the icing on the cake. But it is the football experience that is the cake itself. CPL have done a ton of things right so I will be very disappointed if they do not understand this.

Edit: If the league implicitly takes the stance that matches are "meaningless" unless you are still in the running for "something", this attitude is likely to filter down to the fans. In which case the league may find they are hoist by their own petard. Far better, IMHO, to support the matchday experience position from the outset, since this is what will lead to long term success.

Edited by dsqpr

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1 hour ago, dsqpr said:

If there is a "lack of competitive parity" then playoffs will do nothing for the teams at the bottom. They will not have a chance of making the playoffs or winning the league. And what about the teams at the top? Once they are assured a playoff place, are all their remaining matches meaningless?

Matches do not become "meaningless" just because you no longer have a chance to win the league or get relegated. By that criteria many English Premier League matches would be meaningless, yet fans still care about these matches. People go to enjoy watching the football and the experience. When you are in the hunt for a trophy that is the icing on the cake. But it is the football experience that is the cake itself. CPL have done a ton of things right so I will be very disappointed if they do not understand this.

Edit: If the league implicitly takes the stance that matches are "meaningless" unless you are still in the running for "something", this attitude is likely to filter down to the fans. In which case the league may find they are hoist by their own petard. Far better, IMHO, to support the matchday experience position from the outset, since this is what will lead to long term success.

This... let’s not go the playoff route please. Also because the club that earns the most points over a whole season is more deserving of being the champion than a club that had two or four good games in the playoffs after a middling season. 

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People still care in England because allegiance to the hometown club has been handed down for generations in many families since the late 1800s, so there is no comparison with interest in a club that is just launching in a new league and there isn't the same visceral level attachment. MLS, the USL and the A League in Australia are better places to look for parallels and overall it's very eurocentric to see playoffs as somehow alien to soccer in some way as they have often been used in Latin America.

Even in England the number of relegation and playoff places in the lower divisions has slowly been expanded over the past 50 years or so along with the use of European places at the top of the Premiership to keep games meaningful to the overall outcome of the season because spectator interest drops when they are not. It's an entertainment product that revolves around fans being on the edge of their where the result of the game is concerned, so the sport is at it's most compelling when winning really matters.

Edited by BringBackTheBlizzard

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16 minutes ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

People still care in England because allegiance to the hometown club has been handed down for generations in many families since the late 1800s, so there is no comparison with interest in a club that is just launching in a new league and there isn't the same visceral level attachment. MLS, the USL and the A League in Australia are better places to look for parallels and overall it's very eurocentric to see playoffs as somehow alien to soccer in some way as they have often been used in Latin America.

Even in England the number of relegation and playoff places in the lower divisions has slowly been expanded over the past 50 years or so along with the use of European places at the top of the Premiership to keep games meaningful to the overall outcome of the season because spectator interest drops when they are not. It's an entertainment product that revolves around fans being on the edge of their where the result of the game is concerned, so the sport is at it's most compelling when winning really matters.

People in England care because they enjoy watching football! The club they support may be the result of a long standing family family tradition but it is quite common for members of the same family to support different teams.

The expansion of the number of European places was NOT just so that middling teams in the top division would have something to play for further into the season! What utter nonsense! It was the result of expansion of the European competitions. People in England went to matches to enjoy the football long before the European competitions even existed.

Edited by dsqpr

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You are missing the point. Chasing after the last Europa League place keeps things interesting in terms of the final outcome down to about the ninth or tenth placed team while having three relegation places means games usually stay highly meaningful until very close to the end for four or five clubs above that, so there is a very limited dead zone in the middle of the Premiership table.

Having no relegation in a CanPL context with the solitary CONCACAF place decided by the Voyageurs Cup is nothing at all like the English scenario. Beyond that if they do intend to expand well past eight in numbers terms (by keeping things on a relatively modest scale that works in smaller markets like Victoria and Halifax) there should soon be no way to crown a regular season champion based on a balanced schedule with what is not much more than a six month season. That was only really going to work with eight teams and they have no intention of capping things at eight.

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1 hour ago, BringBackTheBlizzard said:

You are missing the point. Chasing after the last Europa League place keeps things interesting in terms of the final outcome down to about the ninth or tenth placed team while having three relegation places means games usually stay highly meaningful until very close to the end for four or five clubs above that, so there is a very limited dead zone in the middle of the Premiership table.

Having no relegation in a CanPL context with the solitary CONCACAF place decided by the Voyageurs Cup is nothing at all like the English scenario. Beyond that if they do intend to expand well past eight in numbers terms (by keeping things on a relatively modest scale that works in smaller markets like Victoria and Halifax) there should soon be no way to crown a regular season champion based on a balanced schedule with what is not much more than a six month season. That was only really going to work with eight teams and they have no intention of capping things at eight.

I understand your point perfectly. I am just pointing out that it is wrong. The English league had fantastic attendances in the days when there were 22 teams in the top division, one champion, no European places, and two relegated. And the reason is that people enjoy watching football matches.

People do not go to watch football because "there is something on the line" (although bragging rights are always on the line), they go because they enjoy watching football.

Edited by dsqpr

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2 hours ago, dsqpr said:

I understand your point perfectly. I am just pointing out that it is wrong. The English league had fantastic attendances in the days when there were 22 teams in the top division, one champion, no European places, and two relegated. And the reason is that people enjoy watching football matches.

People do not go to watch football because "there is something on the line" (although bragging rights are always on the line), they go because they enjoy watching football.

People go to watch their teams play in every sport when they have something to play for, once a team is more or less out of say the playoffs here in North America attendance goes down , just look at the Blue Jays attendance once they were more or less eliminated from the playoff race , attendance went down the tubes.

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12 minutes ago, 1996 said:

People go to watch their teams play in every sport when they have something to play for, once a team is more or less out of say the playoffs here in North America attendance goes down , just look at the Blue Jays attendance once they were more or less eliminated from the playoff race , attendance went down the tubes.

Conversely, this does not happen in the English football leagues.

But it is instructive. If the league sends out the message that it is the playoffs that matter, many fans will align with that point of view. This would not be a good thing. 

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3 minutes ago, dsqpr said:

Conversely, this does not happen in the English football leagues.

But it is instructive. If the league sends out the message that it is the playoffs that matter, many fans will align with that point of view. This would not be a good thing. 

I understand but watching a game when there is still something on the line is more exciting than just watching just to watch , people are human and a great majority need something to keep them interested it’s just human nature .

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7 hours ago, dsqpr said:

Conversely, this does not happen in the English football leagues...

CanPL is a Canadian league not an English one, so what matters most is Canada's sports culture and that revolves around determining an overall champion with playoffs.

Going against that and having a runaway leader emerging by midseason and killing the entire league as a competitive contest a couple of month before the season ends is a recipe for disaster in an inaugural season. 

It's more important to keep as many fans as interested as possible in as many cities as possible through to the end of the season than keeping a few people who see the English Premiership as the only authentic model for the sport happy. 

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Cup competitions/playoffs are fun.  They are just great fun.  But I do think we need to emphasis the line between a league champion and a tournament champion a little better.  Does seem to get blurry at times. 

I also think we need to give the footie fans (casual or otherwise) a little more credit.  People go to watch for a variety of very good reasons, not just for the opportunity to win championships.  Otherwise how do you explain the Maple Leafs?

Yes, some sort of end of season tourney would be fun.  No, not going to miss it otherwise and doubt for many of this young leagues fans that it will matter as well.  

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There's a core audience that would still show up, but there's a long way to go until a relatively low budget Canadian soccer league can count on that in the sort of way that the NHL teams can. If it is a very rainy day in late September with nothing on the line some of these teams will probably be lucky to break 500 in actual as opposed to paid attendance terms given the complete lack of cover in many of the stadiums. Best to give people as much motivation as possible to get into a poncho raincoat and cheer on their team.

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