- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 26, 2008
- 14 Comments
Yesterday it was reported that MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that two cities had already offered the league an expansion bid for the 17th and 18th clubs. While there was no direct word about which cities were offering these bids most speculate that it was St. Louis and one other city.
This morning I was emailed a link and later noticed there was a comment in yesterday’s post with the same link stating that Montreal was probably that other bid that was offered to the MLS. (note the link is in French…and while I took three years of French, my French is a bit rusty)
The article from La Presse is reporting that (soon to be former) Liverpool owner George Gillet is joining forces with the Saputo family, owners of the USL Montreal Impact, to push for an MLS expansion team in Montreal.
“According to information collected by La Presse, the new team, if it sees the light of day, called the Montreal CF and evolve Saputo Stadium, in the shadow of the tower of the Olympic Stadium….The cost of the franchise is estimated at 30 million US, half of which would be paid in capital by the two partners. ”
In a draft letter to the leaders of the MLS, dated March 12, 2008, Mr. Saputo and the president of Canadian and Gillett Entertainment Group, Pierre Boivin, argue that “Montreal already has a solid foundation” that will ensure the success of a franchise of the MLS.
The story says that the group has a good chance of landing an expansion bid by as early as 2009 if not by 2010. While both years seem unlikely at the moment you have to believe that in the end money will talk with this bid and probably win out over the likes of Miami, Atlanta and maybe even St. Louis.
I cannot see this city passing St. Louis in the expansion line just yet but they do make a good case for a bid if they expand their new stadium from 13,000 to 20,000 like they plan to do. Having another Canadian team will be both good and bad since it will take away a bid from a city like Miami but it will also create an instant rival for Toronto FC. The story talks about how Toronto would be behind this expansion bid.
The team Toronto has refused to comment yesterday. But in an interview with Radio-Canada, last fall, operations manager of the Toronto FC, Paul Beird, said like the advent of a franchise in Montreal. “We are 100% behind Montreal. I often speak to Joey Saputo and I really look forward to a rivalry settle on the ground. We already actively support the candidature of Montreal. “
Like I said, money talks and it most likely will be tough for the league to turn down that kind of money in the end.