Montreal Offers Expansion Site

Montreal Offers Expansion Site

  • 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.

  • Allez RSL

    Paraphrased from the article:<br />
    <br />
    &gt;The Impact are already averaging 11,000 fans per <br />
    &gt;game and Gillette and Saputo estimate that the team <br />
    &gt;would be profitable with 17,000 per game [which the <br />
    &gt;author admits is &quot;slightly higher than the league <br />
    &gt;average&quot;]. <br />
    <br />
    That 11,000 number is light-years ahead of Sounders attendance, which is under 4,000 per game. Based on the pure ability to put butts in the seats, maybe Montreal isn't that bad of a choice for expansion.

  • drew.epperley

    Allen, Seattle already has 15,000 season ticket deposits for next year…I don't think that attendance will be an issue for them, but yes Montreal already does have a strong fan base that would only get better in the MLS.

  • Adam

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Montreal is the right choice for team number 18. Sorry Miami, if MLS ever gets so big as to have two divisions (like in England, where they have 5), then I'm sure you would be the number one candidate. But let's face it, you've had your chance and you blew it. Tough shit.

  • Adam

    Plus, if they can average 11,000 for USL (which is more than KC and the Red Bulls until the Beckham game when 66k obviously bumped up theyre numbers a bit), they should be able to draw as well as TFC, if you think about it. Perhaps the owners should expand the stadium to 25k, just in case…

  • Allez RSL

    Paraphrased from the article:

    >The Impact are already averaging 11,000 fans per
    >game and Gillette and Saputo estimate that the team
    >would be profitable with 17,000 per game [which the
    >author admits is “slightly higher than the league
    >average”].

    That 11,000 number is light-years ahead of Sounders attendance, which is under 4,000 per game. Based on the pure ability to put butts in the seats, maybe Montreal isn’t that bad of a choice for expansion.

  • Allen, Seattle already has 15,000 season ticket deposits for next year…I don’t think that attendance will be an issue for them, but yes Montreal already does have a strong fan base that would only get better in the MLS.

  • Adam

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Montreal is the right choice for team number 18. Sorry Miami, if MLS ever gets so big as to have two divisions (like in England, where they have 5), then I’m sure you would be the number one candidate. But let’s face it, you’ve had your chance and you blew it. Tough shit.

  • Adam

    Plus, if they can average 11,000 for USL (which is more than KC and the Red Bulls until the Beckham game when 66k obviously bumped up theyre numbers a bit), they should be able to draw as well as TFC, if you think about it. Perhaps the owners should expand the stadium to 25k, just in case…

  • Steve-O

    With the success in Toronto, I also feel that Montreal will be an excellent expansion site. I feel that a 25-27,000 capacity stadium would be a good idea for this market. It's true that Miami already had thier opportunity and they did blow it. I dont think having a team in the south-east just to have a team in that region is a good idea. Right now the league needs to expand to where the greatest immediate success will be.

  • Steve-O

    With the success in Toronto, I also feel that Montreal will be an excellent expansion site. I feel that a 25-27,000 capacity stadium would be a good idea for this market. It’s true that Miami already had thier opportunity and they did blow it. I dont think having a team in the south-east just to have a team in that region is a good idea. Right now the league needs to expand to where the greatest immediate success will be.

  • Steve-O

    Just found this site while browsing last year's attendance figures:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://mysoccerblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/2007-mls-attendance-numbers-full-season.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://mysoccerblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/2007-mls…</a>" target="_blank">http://mysoccerblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/2007-mls…</a></a> <br />
    Notice twords the bottom where there is the attendence figures for USL-1st Div. teams.<br />
    <br />
    Team HG Total Att Avg Att<br />
    Montreal Impact 14 154,497 11,036<br />
    Rochester Raging Rhinos 14 130,700 9,336<br />
    Portland Timbers 14 95,592 6,828<br />
    Vancouver Whitecaps 14 72,264 5,162<br />
    Carolina RailHawks 14 71,735 5,124<br />
    Puerto Rico Islanders 14 66,143 4,725<br />
    Charleston Battery 14 55,550 3,968<br />
    Seattle Sounders 14 46,545 3,325<br />
    Minnesota Thunder 14 44,110 3,151<br />
    Atlanta Silverbacks 14 36,003 2,572<br />
    California Victory 14 15,619 1,116<br />
    Miami FC 14 12,828 916<br />
    <br />
    It's kinda hard to read like that, but the point is that over a 14 game season, Montreal averaged just over 11,000 fans per game. While Miami had only 916 per game.<br />
    <br />
    When the league is looking into future expansion, it should look at attendance levels of other soccer divisions in the area. Although these are just attendance figures and don't tell a whole story, it appears to me that based on these attendance levels that Montreal would be a better pick for MLS to expand to rather than Miami. <br />
    <br />
    I didn't include the Seattle Sounders into this post because Seattle has already been granted an expansion team.<br />
    <br />
    Just throwing this out there for everyone else to see and discuss.

  • drew.epperley

    good stats steve-o…good stats

  • Steve-O

    Just found this site while browsing last year’s attendance figures:

    http://mysoccerblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/2007-mls-attendance-numbers-full-season.html

    Notice twords the bottom where there is the attendence figures for USL-1st Div. teams.

    Team HG Total Att Avg Att
    Montreal Impact 14 154,497 11,036
    Rochester Raging Rhinos 14 130,700 9,336
    Portland Timbers 14 95,592 6,828
    Vancouver Whitecaps 14 72,264 5,162
    Carolina RailHawks 14 71,735 5,124
    Puerto Rico Islanders 14 66,143 4,725
    Charleston Battery 14 55,550 3,968
    Seattle Sounders 14 46,545 3,325
    Minnesota Thunder 14 44,110 3,151
    Atlanta Silverbacks 14 36,003 2,572
    California Victory 14 15,619 1,116
    Miami FC 14 12,828 916

    It’s kinda hard to read like that, but the point is that over a 14 game season, Montreal averaged just over 11,000 fans per game. While Miami had only 916 per game.

    When the league is looking into future expansion, it should look at attendance levels of other soccer divisions in the area. Although these are just attendance figures and don’t tell a whole story, it appears to me that based on these attendance levels that Montreal would be a better pick for MLS to expand to rather than Miami.

    I didn’t include the Seattle Sounders into this post because Seattle has already been granted an expansion team.

    Just throwing this out there for everyone else to see and discuss.

  • good stats steve-o…good stats