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football thread No11

Discussion in 'Sports Talk' started by Carras Dad, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    Hah, as a fifty yo Finnish football fan I've seen a lot more than my fair share of bad football ;) I appreciate the wall especially when the cynical part was tongue-in-cheek but few things caught my eye. First the stadiums with running tracks - that's the way they're (mostly) here as well but in England or Germany which are the games after restart on tv obviously not so the expectations of quality is already dimished a bit. On the other hand hardly any top goals collection is a praise for the goalies but one can take joy from the fact that there're several people able to try & score outside the box - accidental or not. The other thin was the crowd - many of whom I didn't even recognise. Not the case in live games but I have to admit getting used to watching without stadium noises was faster than expected. There's also an option for additional background noise to imitate a live game, and it actually works, but I seem to be always using the only the live sound from the field.
    Turning this into a novel sounds intriguing but may I suggest more pics and/or videos to spice things up a la the travel logs.
     
  2. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    The stadiums with running tracks, I think we have one of those in the league. York9 are playing there temporarily (it's a university stadium) while they sort out their perm. stadium situation, which they've been working on for a couple years now. Initially the running tracks were supposed to be covered with seats, a beer garden, and other such things, but due to some mismanagement on the club side some of these things did not happen. This club had the worst home ground out of all the CPL clubs in the first year (IMO). They also had the worst attendance in the league IIRC. They are competing with Toronto FC, both clubs play in the same metro area, so many people put down the lower attendance to that.. but some are also pointing at the mismanagement in season 1 and some of the mistakes and lessons learned there. The club is actually rebranding and have replaced their president and some other key positions, so they seem to be moving in the right direction. The running truck might be there next year, but the league wants an intimate & carnival sort of feel at these games. They don't want clubs to have oversized stadiums with running tracks, they want smaller intimate venues. Unfortunately getting a new stadium built is an expensive project that takes years, so the league has to make some concessions, or we'd have nowhere to play.

    The league commissioner said that about 4,500 people showing up to each game would be enough to make the league sustainable in the long-term. That's a very rough number, but that's what was thrown around before we kicked off last year. The average attendance ended up being around that number, so we're on the right track. The problem with some stadiums (like York9's) was that the camera ended up facing a stand where nobody ever sat.. The reality of their stadium is that they have one well built grandstand where everything is.. and on the other side is a bit more of a temporary stand where you couldn't really set up TV cameras very well. So as a result all their home matches always look so empty. They did have the worst avg attendance in the league, but it wasn't that bad..

    They have actually made a point to say that they will be fixing the TV issue. The TV cameras will now always be pointing at the stands with all the fans, and they are opening up a standing only section for more serious supporters. A couple other clubs are doing the same thing with their TV cameras. We have a couple clubs playing in larger Canadian football (i.e. like American football) stadiums. All the fans are forced into the lower bowls, but even though one of these clubs gets about 10k people a game, it does look a bit sparse on TV due to the fact that the stadium seats 35k or whatever.

    Our Atlantic club has been a huge success. The city of Halifax really embraced their new football club - they sell out every single game. They put up a pop-up stadium right downtown and it's a huge success. It's no doubt a model that other clubs will want to copy, but it's not so easy to just magically find enough space downtown to put up a stadium. Projects like that usually take a while, but in Halifax it all came together so well. The club is also named after the grounds - The Wanderers Grounds.. I believe a rugby team with that name used to play there many decades ago.

    Here's the march to their opening game, it might show you their stadium. It's the #1 stadium in the league I want to experience, including the amazing fan atmosphere.

     
  3. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    Don't be! it's nice to hear of football being run competently and apparently rather cleanly somewhere on this planet. It gives me hope.
    I know you don't have the colossal stadia from here (you get third-division clubs with a 40k-capacity stadium), how is that a viable number? Besides the salary caps there must be some other way of reducing overheads, e.g. tax exemptions and subsidies, or else ticket prices are quite a bit higher there than here.
     
  4. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Ticket prices are quite cheap actually. Last year Halifax's most expensive season ticket package (excluding suites and premium pitch-side seats) came in at $399 CAD for 15 games, which works out to $26.6 a game. That's comparable to the cheapest possible MLS season tickets (at least in Toronto).. and in this case it gets you the best seats in the house (excluding the exceptions I mentioned), and even includes a free jersey for every season ticket holder. Season ticket holders who want to stand in 'The Kitchen' behind the net pay $199 for the season, which works out to $13.26 a game.. They also get a free jersey, valued at about $120.. Not sure if that perk is going to stick around for next year (but I think some clubs are still doing it)

    Other clubs in the league have a similar pricing structure to Halifax, although Calgary had a couple sections that were a lot more expensive (and some of the clubs do not offer a free jersey). Overall though if you wanted to buy a random ticket online, it would be pretty cheap overall, from what I saw. My only experience shopping for CPL tickets though were the 2 tickets I bought to the opening game. I paid $50 CAD and got a large Forge FC flag too and then the rep hooked me up with 2 extra tickets for free. They were trying to fill the stadium for the opening game so that's why.. for your average season game though, I can't remember, and it's not easy to look up, but think season ticket prices + 10-20%ish.

    I am not sure how it's sustainable, but the league is not very transparent in these early stages so nobody knows much of anything. The first season was a success and the average attendance was 4,279 (just looked it up). Not quite where they wanted it, but basically in the range they were hoping for.

    The league has started a parallel company of sorts that is going to be another source of revenue for CPL clubs.. Canada Soccer Business. It is modelled after something similar set up that is making MLS teams money. Basically CSB gets all the profits from OneSoccer, which is the league's streaming platform, put together by MediaPro. CSB also gets all the profits from anything shown on TV I believe, any deals like that, etc. I am probably getting the details wrong here somewhere, but eventually CSB is supposed to be pulling in $$$. A similar setup saved MLS about 12-15 years ago and this is what they are modelling this part of the business on. So maybe that's why these initial numbers don't need to be so high in terms of attendance.

    Mind you this sort of attendance is very common in many top flight European leagues.. just none of the big ones. and that's all sustainable and they pay higher wages too.. but have decades of history and established business relationships and so on

    One of the reasons why we haven't had a real league until now.. Our country is just so huge.. and spread out.. and we don't have that many population centres.. Flying from one end of the country to the other isn't cheap.. I don't know how they're doing it tbh. WestJet is one of the sponsors, so that could help, but they must be doing a lot of other creative things behind the scenes as well
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  5. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    $26.6 a game?
    At the current exchange rates a first-division game here must be a quarter of that. And that's full price, not a season ticket. So yeah, you have a completely different price structure.
    If you split the TV rights correctly you can foster a good environment. And yes, geographical proximity should mean that people from nearing countries could look at Canada as a place in which they could display their skills and earn themselves a decent bit of cash while they're at it. I'm interested. If they can keep it clean it should work out. I don't think Canada will be the new Brazil or even the new Mexico but it should see some improvement in both club and country-level football in the mid-term. :)
     
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  6. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    That's pretty crazy, how much are your season tickets? If you don't have any, I mean season tickets of a local top flight club.
     
  7. Josu

    Josu King

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    Just to compare
    Watching a LaLiga single match at San Mames Stadium, Athletic club's stadium, may vary from 30€ to 400€. This last one is a box in VIP area and includes catering.
    If anyone wants a season pass, have to become full member, which implies a sunk cost of 1700€ and between 300€ and 1000€ for each season pass.
    You can also book a box in VIP area for a complete season for about 32000€, which would include catering and parking
     
  8. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    So 30 euros is about $46 CAD, for context. Cheapest CPL tickets are about, I want to say, a bit less than half of that.. Although it's tough to say since nobody's posting their single game ticket prices right now, since all the games are cancelled.

    Here's an article about the pricing in Halifax (which ended up being the cheapest market in terms of ticket cost, but not by much). It was written before the league kicked off.
     
  9. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    Well, here in Argentina football's suspended until further notice but a first-division ticket was at about ARS500 for the standing areas. Club members (ALL clubs are run here in the old way as Barcelona and a few others still are in Spain) can pay a monthly fee that has traditionally been a little lower than double that basic ticket so effectively you're getting a discount for attending twice a month. The official exchange rate is I think 70-1 to the US dollar but the real i.e. black market rates are anywhere from 100-1 to maybe 140-1.
    A large part of some clubs' gate income has disappeared since the ridiculous bans on away fans were instituted in 2013. They have been shown to have an almost null effect on deaths at stadia (96 in the five years leading up to the ban, 95 in the five years following it); all it has done is make clubs ever more dependent on TV fees and on discovering the next big player to be sold for a few million in hard cash. With twinned devaluation and inflation Argentina's first division last had a transfer in pesos in December 2014.

    Another big difference is that (it sounds like) in Canada you're partly setting your system up in order to attract talent from elsewhere e.g. the Caribbean because Canada might be a nicer place to live while the objective here from the very beginning is simply to get the hell out of the country to find a better place to live.
     
  10. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Generally here in Canada everything would be more expensive than in Argentina. Up here we consider the U.S. to be a place where you can buy a lot of stuff pretty cheap (groceries, gas, eating out at restaurants, etc.)

    The Canadian Premier League was mainly set up so that Canadians had a place to play, though. There are roster rules for international players (edit: I posted them at the bottom), but these players did have to come from somewhere.. and we couldn't attract much talent from Europe (aside from returning Canadians pretty much I think), so other CONCACAF countries made sense in terms of scouting. The Halifax manager/head coach for instance had experience coaching somewhere in the Caribbean, and was able to attract some players via previous connections..

    We got a couple journeyman type players too, players who have played all over the place .. but I can only remember one, and I can't even remember his name.. Going forward we'll probably sign more and more high profile international players, but the international roster restrictions will probably not change much in the next decade at least. This whole project is supposed to give Canadian kids local heroes to cheer for so that then can later aspire to become football players themselves and play for their local club.. and represent Canada. Our national program has not been really doing that well lately to say the least.. It's not easy if you don't have a local top flight league.. Now we have one, but it will take some time before it really starts to pay off.. Although already we've seen CPL players called up to the national side for matches, so it's a great start.

    Here's the roster rules as they pertain to international players:

    This is in stark contrast to MLS, where you'll often see Toronto FC starting with just 1 or 2 Canadians.. or none at all..
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  11. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    I had to check the local prices as it got intriguing.. This year is obviously more than a bit unusual as football is summer sport hence the season was supposed start in April but was postponed and the schedule is planned on the fly. Also there's a problem when several teams sold more season tickets than they currently take spectators so the available tickets are distributed between season ticket holders in some manner.
    By far the largest team (and highest prices most likely) HJK has list prices of €15,- to 25,- which I assume is the actual price one has to pay to get in. Season ticket prices are irrelevant at this point.
    As a reference the Polar Circle team RoPS had last season ticket for the best seats as 119,- for 13 or 14 home games. The interesting part is the season ticket price for the rest of stadium which ended up 69,- The reason for this that they launched a campaign that if enough people (I think it was 1500 or 2000) buy the season ticket they will cut the price considerably. The STs sold extremely well as several people far outside Rovaniemi bought the ticket as a supportive measure and even better if they were on location for a game or two.
    Then there's also TPS from Turku which has a team in top league both in football and ice hockey which is main sport locally and they sell a combo season ticket for leagues. Obviously the seats are the crappiest but still the price was rougly a fiver per game.
     
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  12. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    Ah, the celebrated Reuvaniimen Pollasjüra I once heard of in a Grauniad documetnary on sports in extreme weather.

    €5 per game is a second-division game ticket here. I think that part of the problem is that player salaries here always have to compete with foreign markets. Effectively the clubs earn their money in the continuously devaluated currency in pesos but have to compete with foreign buyers (Europe, Mexico, Saudi Arabia) who can pay hard cash for their new players who can just force their contract to be broken; meanwhile, free agents can also go to those countries and also smaller markets such as e.g. the U.S.A.
     
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  13. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    RoPS wasn't actually the only team here that ended up with similar sort of model with season tickets and I think that experiment went rather well in general. Also, I think that teams are more inclined to use a system where ever smaller proportion of income per game is coming from tickets and larger part from on-site selling. It's not that apparent in football where stadiums still tend to be small & empty but especially in ice hockey I'd rather see 10k peeps with 5,- tickets happily buying coffee & sausages than 5k peeps with 20,- tickets being pissed at the pricing and with pretty much everything else when their team loses.

    ---

    I also picked up in the morning the Tranmere stuff I ordered two weeks ago and that purple (/black) away kit is bloody awesome. I should've ordered a dozen of everything as £15 for Jersey is ridiculous - decent t-shirts cost the same. Shorts were £10 I think.
    Now I should prolly learn at least one name of their roster...
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  14. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    The situation there sounds a lot like some cinemas. I am reminded of, a few months ago, comparing my own experience of paying somewhere between 2 to 3 US dollars for a ticket for the Star Wars film while in the US somebody wanted the equivalent of theatre box seats (individual deluxe seating, an actual dinner, etc. all included). Is the €5 ticket even being sold at cost?
     
  15. Josu

    Josu King

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    You barelly will pick a ticket for a youth team for 5€ where I live
     
  16. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    If it is I'll be surprised but I hope it is with that extra selling stuff during a game. However, the team structure here is very different to that of what North American pro leagues are so comparing ticket prices and so on isn't straight forward and I have no idea what the situation is down there.

    Here the clubs (mostly) own themselves, these days mostly through a fund or a holding company of some sort which are non-profit. No one is making money here by owning a team and I doubt anyone is seriously even thinking of that. Only one football team sort of owns its arena - through a rich invidual who owns part of the club as a hobby and as a supportive measure to his home city.& its people.
    Clubs don't move to another location because of a sponsor nor do they change names or cease to exist - they'll just be demoted through the system. There're few exceptions where the city or group of people or organizations have paid off partly of fully the clubs debts so the club can continue to operate under slightly different ownership structure. In few cases the club has said that screw this - we can't pay and we'll start again from bottom league level or made a fusion with someone else. In most cases this has been a Helsinki based lower lvl team but even in those cases the club continues to function but the mens #1 team is abandoned. Clubs overwhelmingly are multi-sport clubs with teams of men & women for all ages. Though through some legislative changes the juniors can't anymore subvent the first team so the juniors can usually continue regardless of the first teams ef-ups. There have been cases where the juniors paid more than their share of club memberships, gear, arena fees etc and that money was used to pay the first team's bills.

    This year pretty much everyone who bothers to ask in time will get some sort govermental subsidy to get by but the expectation is that almost everyone is about to lose some money anyway. For top teams the main issue is, I think, the salaries - if those can be negociated downwards with players as a group the damage will be negligible but if only few or none at all will take a lower salary the excrement will surely hit the revolving blades.
     
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  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    All CPL owners are losing money right now and expect to be for the first several years of the league. It's complicated setting up a country-wide league here because we don't have many urban centres and they are very far apart..

    They are hoping to monetize this in part via onesoccer, which is being ran by mediapro. It's part of a business they set up to pull in profits via the selling of rights and such, similar to the strategy that saved MLS about 15 years ago. Of course there is always merch and other ways to make money, but onesoccer continues adding more and more leagues (although not during the pandemic), making it more appealing to even fans who don't care about CPL. They are also hoping to cash in on the world cup coming here in 2026. I don't know how this stuff works, but they hope to re-sell the Canadian WC match rights or cash in on them otherwise and are hoping that the 6-7 years it takes us to get there will build up enough momentum for all of this to pay off for them.. and then of course they'll have (hopefully) profitable football clubs after that.

    I think the business models for a top flight football league in Noth America and Europe must be structured differently in terms of the business plans. In North America soccer is the 4th or 5th most popular sport, and we don't have many local league to compete with either.. although many people here do watch European football instead of the local stuff. The way they've set up the Canadian Premier League is different from both the approaches in Europe and MLS. So it's interesting to read about what happens in Europe, especially in leagues more similar in stature and what's possible for the CPL (rather than something like La Liga or the EPL), since we never hear about the Finnish league here for instance. It's interesting to look at attendance numbers for these European leagues. Many have similar attendances to what the CPL is getting, which is surprising to many people, because over here the big Euro leagues get all the attention... Even when you see a Europa League match, the stadiums are usually packed. When I was in Norway I watched some top flight matches on TV and the crowds were of course much smaller, but the atmosphere seemed solid. This is what we are trying to replicate here in Canada, we know we'll never be like England. And from there, once the foundations for soccer culture and infrastructure and fan awareness are in place, we can only move up from there.

    I mention the attendance thing because so many people over here look at 5,000 at a game and think it's a joke. We are used to "major" teams playing in "major" cities and being the focus of the continent. You have to look at more similar leagues in Europe to get a better picture of what's a joke and what isn't.

    edit: OneSoccer has no region blocking and no blackouts at all, so even if you are in Madagascar you can use the service with no problems. They offer a one month free trial, with no obligations. Once the league kicks off next year it's a great way to experience what the league is like for free. Then if you like what you see you can decide to pay for a month or the whole year or whatever. We'll take any support we can get from anywhere :D

    I also see they are also showing some German Cup games (whatever it's called), which is amazing
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  18. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    Yesterday we saw the ruling by a certain sporting court that meant, effectively, that Manchester City get away with ignoring Financial Fair Play. That is exactly an example of the crap that Canada's new football scene cannot allow itself to perpetrate. If you let the game become a plaything for the rich it gets worse than Formula 1 and that's saying something; effectively you'll get some people doing it for ‘tax reasons’ or simply as whitewashing operations. Imagine a Koch-owned team!

    Remember that Spain is a special case where every club negotiates its own TV fee and within Spain pay-per-view customers for some teams can be a dozen or two as Josu said a few years ago, while Barcelona, Real Madrid and a handful of others get all the attention. In their particular case, if you're not known outside, you're done for because you won't be able to market the product. In other countries you get collective rights bargaining, i.e. the entire league gets paid.

    Finland is a better case study for Canada because it is a small country with far larger neighbours and it also has an Arctic climate as well as a culture of comparative honesty. And a two-language situation now that I think of it.
     
  19. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    The average attendance in the Finnish top flight seems to be 2,500 or so. The club with the top attendance in the legue averages 5,500 or so. Just looked it up because I was curious, so yeah, exactly, there are many similarities. I bet several European leagues were researched when they were setting up the CPL - and their business models analyzed.

    As for FFP.. It was already a joke, but now it's an even bigger joke. It makes it more annoying to be a fan of leagues that don't have parity, because all the clubs who have multi-billionaires just buy all the best players and always end up at the top. It leads to high level football, but the competition is at times too far apart (between teams at the top and at the bottom of the table). I admit in the case of the EPL that's one of the reasons I liked it - I saw smaller clubs sometimes upset big ones and would root for the small clubs.. but.. it's a bit rare for my tastes. I know about the TV rights in Spain and in England that's a lot more fair, and makes things more interesting (a club Leicester can go on a good run and beat some of the bigger clubs, etc. Although Leicester also has very rich owners.....)

    I'm a guy who watches every single match in the WC and usually cheer for the underdog, whoever that might be. So leagues that have more parity seem more exciting to me. But I mean, I also like football played at the highest level, so I will watch the EPL and the Champions League and so on. At the Canadian level I want to see parity in the league imposed by a salary cap or whatever method. So far we have some rich owners, a family worth a couple billion owns the Calgary team.. but they can't do a ton to turn that money into an advantage on the pitch, except for investing in youth facilities and training better players.. which is exactly why the league exists - to create the next generation of Canadian football players, so wins all around. Atletico now owns the Ottawa club, and they bring their own expertise and know-how with them, as well as maybe some players, and the other clubs in the league will have to compete with that as well. Some people are against the branding and prefer original names, and I feel that, but at the same time having a football giant like that move in and invest in the sport in the country, that's hard to pass up. They will be helping to train not only the next generation of Canadian players, but also coaches, and building up infrastructure that other clubs are no doubt going to be watching and learning from each other as the league evolves.
     
  20. Takhisis

    Takhisis Free Hong Kong

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    That might be a positive but it's also effectively setting up their own private feeder club. It reminds me strongly of neocolonialism and multinationals establishing subsidiaries in order to develop and export local talent.

    Also, the Champions League and top football. There's various proposals to make the Champions League a tournament with permanent invitees and only part of the roster being filled by teams qualifying through their local leagues.
    Such a thing was tried by CONMEBOL in the 1990s:
    • As always there was the original Copa Libertadores in roughly the first half of the year, played by the two best teams of each country plus the defending champion.
    • Then there was the Supercopa, a tournament without -at first- a group stage as in the Libertadores, and the only requisite for a club to qualify was to have won the Libertadores at any point in history. The number, of course, changed whenever there was a new champion. So by 1995 you had second-division clubs playing international tournaments because they had won another international tournament a full quarter of a century before, and clubs having to either get byes or get previous qualifying stages added, or sometimes group stages . A relegation-and-promotion system was instituted in which a couple of clubs would drop out.
      From 1998 to 2001 it was replaced by Copa Mercosur and Copa Merconorte which worked a little better.
    • At the third tier there was the Copa CONMEBOL which originally was like the UEFA Cup, i.e. it hosted all teams which had placed well but not qualified for either of the other two, but the qualification methods involved were bizarre and teams would often drop out, resulting in the finalists of its last edition (1999) being the winner of a Brazilian regional competition (i.e. the state tournament) and weren't even playing in first division at the federal level vs. an Argentine team who'd been promoted the year before the fourth-worst in the league (44 points in 38 games).
    Copa CONMEBOL was scrapped after that last ridiculous edition and from 2002 onwards the other two lower cups were integrated into what is now known as Copa Sudamericana. Which at first (until 2010 IIRC) had Boca Juniors and River Plated as permanent invitess regardless of their league performance in order to attract advertisers. After initial success (River Plate were 2nd in 2003 and Boca Juniors won it in '04 and '05) they quickly became a comedic entry. River Plate being imposed onto the competition after having an even lower score in their home league than the aforementioned 44 points (they reached a historic low and were last in the league).

    tl;dr it ruined those competitions and when arbitrary qualification was replaced by actual merit through league or cup competitions the system has become, the constant player drain notwithstanding, a relatively competitive one.
     
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