Thursday, December 12, 2013

Montreal Feasibility Study Says Landing Team Would Cost $1 Billion

If Montreal wants the Rays someday, it'll cost more than a billion bucks. 

That's according to a new $400,000 feasibility study (not sure if that money was counted in the $1B) done by Ernst & Young for a group of Montreal businessmen looking to bring MLB back to town.  The leader of the group is former Expos player Warren Cromartie.

On one hand, the study concluded the city could easily sustain a baseball team, given the region's 3.8 million population.  That's slightly more than Tampa Bay's, depending how you measure a metro.

But on the other hand, there doesn't appear to be anywhere near enough money to build a new stadium, estimated at $500 million, plus another $525 million to buy a team.  Furthermore, the proposed stadium would be open-air, similar to Minnesota's Target Field.

From the "you can make a statistic say anything" department, the study concluded a new Montreal stadium would draw between 27,600 and 31,600 fans per night.  This was based on resident polling and a comparison of attendance in Seattle, Minnesota, San Diego, Arizona, and Milwaukee (why not Tampa Bay?)

Of course, the study ignored the fact that the Expos were drawing fewer than 10,000 fans per game their final few year.  Maybe the study was conducted by Youppi! or Scott Boras.

How else to explain Quebecers newfound love for baseball?  Maybe they really are interested in seeing baseball in a brand-new outdoor stadium.  But who knows if a team could sustain 27,000 fans a night once the "new ballpark smell" wears off (the Mets, Padres, D-Backs, White Sox, Mariners, Astros, Indians, and Marlins couldn't).

Too bad we will probably never know, since there doesn't seem to be anyone in Canada looking to blow a billion bucks on baseball.


  1. The Expos suffered from poor attendance due to the stadium's location, a long commute from the economic center of the city. The proposed "Labatt Park" project would alleviate that aspect.

  2. Any actual/real evidence to back that assumption up?

    1. Stade Olympique was next to impossible for fans from the 'west island' to drive to during the week. Very similar to the Rays situation with the burbs north of Tampa.

    2. This isn't new news...these "assumptions" have been floating around since the early 90's. Here's a sampling of two (of many) articles that insinuate such:

      (...And a study on the possible return of Major League Baseball to Montreal — expected to be unveiled at a news conference next week — is to recommend a new ballpark closer to where the majority of fans live, given the broader North American trend of tearing down and replacing aging stadiums...)

  3. If ya' really want to get somewhere, 'ya don't let excuses get in the way. West islanders could have taken the metro, there were plenty of stations with parking nearby.
    Truth is, there wasn't much interest in making the effort in either place when you can stay home and watch on tv.

  4. Don't blame the expos; blame the egotistic leaders of st pete who refuse to let the rays escape the Trop.

  5. Replies
    1. PJ - The Metro does not go anywhere near the west island ( all politics )

      There seems to be a groundswell of support to take the money needed to fix the roof at Stade Olympique and invest in a new ballpark.

    2. Metro goes to the edge of the west island, just not to doorstep of every neighborhood. Extending line would mean tunneling under the airport and/or having to condemn private property. Like most metro areas, those in outlying residential areas don't want city transit lines extended into their areas.
      If you live in Westview it'll be as much of a pain (traffic, parking cost etc.) to get to a downtown mallpark as it is to get to the big owe, just a little shorter distance.
      Again, if ya' really want to get somewhere, 'ya don't let excuses get in the way.
      No mention of a "groundswell" (who?) in that article only a Gazette writer. Your use of that word implies that there's a large proportion of the local population that "wants" a mallpark. Where's the evidence that aside from the lilliputian Expos-necrophiliac "nation"
      and Crow there's any real interest by biz types to stick their necks out in public - which hasn't happened - or public ticket buyers who will actually put their $'s down
      instead of just filling out an internet survey. There is none.
      MLB isn't interested regardless of what pundits or player agents yakking off the tops of their heads about it.
      Ask the majority of former players and few of them willingly payed the additional taxes and increased cost of living there as well as visa/customs problems - few players are interested either.
      All of the bluster is fed by emotion and nostalgia, not the reality of MLB today and in the future.

  6. To compare the authors of the Montreal study to "Youppi" is a disservice to your readers and shows a complete lack of understanding of the history of the game in Montreal. Your blog post has several errors in it regarding what numbers were used. You should probably actually read something first before writing a post about it.