Thursday, May 28, 2015

Montreal's Mayor Takes His MLB Road Show to Big Apple

So this happened...
We know Montreal wants the Expos back.  We knew the mayor's meeting would send shockwaves across Twitter.  But Twitter doesn't award MLB teams.

If an autographed baseball falls in a town that already lost MLB...does it make a sound?
Patrice Derome says reports out of Quebec are that the money won't be an issue - the private commitment is already there and the public money will follow.  He summarizes:

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  1. Noah, you have the ability to report and document situations on the Tropicana Field, public financing and editorials.

    And then, you come up with this. Focussing on Twitter, pictures and futile comments.

    I think you drop the ball. Big time.

    1. If you follow the blog regularly, you'd see there is plenty of reporting and documenting situations :)

      Not to mention breaking news and providing perspective!

  2. So the new stadium plans were presented to Manfred yesterday while talking about having a new team or a re-location one.

    With all the comments we read and heard over the last 12-18 months, the ball is in the MLB camp now while the Montreal group (Montreal Baseball Project, Investors and Mayor Coderre) is moving forward to meet more MLB owners and commissionner office.

    Investments from private investors are documented in a detailed plan. As soon as the group will have a green light to be prepared by Manfred, discussions with the three level of governments (Federal, Provincial and City) will start to layout the stadium plan, probably as part of a global investment strategy, not just a stadium in Griffintown or nearby (in conjunction with a bigger infrastructure project with Tramways, Champlain Bridge with Light Train System, ...).

    For the naysayers, remember one thing: Manfred will not accept to meet publicly Coderre and even accept to have future meetings just for the fun of it. It's not a boogeyman strategy it's about expanding baseball in Canada and opening a door to Europe, Latin America in 10-15 years. Montreal is the perfect market to start expanding Baseball in other countries considering our Latin roots and mosaic type of culture.

    Rays and St-Pete (and also Oakland) must move quickly to find a solution for a stadium and for attendances issues. Otherwise, Montreal will have a compelling offer to accommodate any teams. And if Rays/A's succeed (which I hope for), then Montreal will get an expansion team to balance the ligue with 32 teams.

    All common sense here.

  3. If the mayor was meeting with the commish without the work done in the last few years, I think it would be easy to dismiss this. However, when you line this visit up with the back to back 96,000 person turnouts in the last two years, a positive fesability study, legitimate investors, sponsors and stadium plans lined up, and you are doing your readers a disservice by overlooking this so easily.

    St Pete has named their price. At this point, it will come down to who can put a shovel in the ground first AND which city will put up more money to do it. Given how the last 7 years have progressed for the stadium search in Tampa Bay, and the return of MLB to Montreal, it is clear to see where the momentum is. Throw in the fact that the Rays remain competative without their former staff, and attendance continues to plummet, I'm guessing public support for financing a new stadium anywhere in the region remains low as well. If I'm Stu and I can spend $55 million and someone else will build me a half billion dollar stadium, I think that is where I'd put my team. After all, look at how the value of the team has improved in these last few years, despite the ongoing stadium saga.

    In the end, I believe Montreal will have a team again, but it is up to you guys whether or not it is the Rays or an expansion team.

    1. Manfred would have never met Coderre without lot of work done in the past 12-18 months.

      So all the ones that says it is a smoke screen or a boogeyman, that's not true. Coderre and Montreal Baseball Project would never continue to work if there is no signs of re-location and/or expansion.

      We all know it is not for 2016, but between 2017 and 2020, it is realistic.

      Bell Media is ready to move. They desperately need original content of 162 games for TSN/RDS (english and french sports networks) and the value of a team in Montreal is way higher than just broadcasting MLB games. All the other related TV shows (pre-game, post-game, review of the week, spring training, ...) they can add to their schedule is invaluable in term of TV ads and sponsorship.

      Again, this is not a dream, a smoke screen. This is a real process with real money and real investor. And mayor Coderre is well known by lot's of MLB owners, because he's a real baseball fan, going to games during summer (Boston, LA, San Francisco, ...). He will be in Cincinnati for the All-Star game this year.

      And I have prediction for you (no insights): Bell Media will finance the most part of the stadium, governments (and CDPQ) will invest billions in infrastructure around the stadium (tramways, Light Trail System, Champlain Bridge, ...) and individual investors (the ones that were identified publicly) will have the money for a new team, an existing one or part of an existing one.

      So no issue with public funding, no issue with the stadium and no issue with the team.

      Let's revisit this prediction by April 2016, mayor Coderre told us in April 2015 that we should have important announcements in the next 12 months.

    2. Forgot to mention, what is happening in 2017 in Montreal?

      375th anniversary of the city of Montreal. Can you imagine the impact of bringing back a baseball team during the celebrations in 2017?

    3. FYI, two owners from NY and Chicago asked to meet mayor Coderre (not the opposite).

      Maybe they want to play games in Montreal, maybe they want to better understand the plan to get a team. But one thing is sure, they don't ask such meting just for fun. Otherwise, they should have ask Youppi! for such meeting if I can say that.

  4. Every English article published in the last year that talks about baseball and Montreal always talks says it's all just talk. Montreal has no ownership group and no stadium plans.

    But all you gotta do is Google translate the French articles and you get the serious stuff:
    - Bell, Bronfman, Rossi, Garber make up the ownership group
    - the mayor actually showed Manfred stadium plans and revealed the ownership group to him.

    "[the mayor] also presented to the commissioner's office with plans for a new stadium envisaged by the promoters of major league baseball in Montreal. And he discussed the issue with his host investors willing to commit to the project."

    The fact that all this goes unnoticed is what worries me. One day, in the next 5 years or so, the Rays, St. Pete, and Tampa will be arguing over a use agreement and a Montreal group will suddenly pop up with all the prerequisites.

    1. Yep, in the english medias, you have 50% of the story in the US and 80% of the story in Canada. In the french medias in Montreal (radio and press), you have the extra 20%.

      I can't count the number of radio interview, tweets and newspaper/editorials (even scrum from Coderre) where all the little details are communicated.

      Mayor Coderre is a very experienced politician, former minister of Immigration and Sports in Canada, very well connected across the country and a real fan of baseball. With all those qualifications, this is a real leader and visionary man.

      So when I read "Does La Presse is a credible media?", I know that we are not on the same level.

      Stay Tuned and make sure you read/listen to what Serge Touchette, Rodgers Brulotte and Philippe Cantin have to say.

      Sorry, it's in french.

    2. What St-Pete and TB people should be worry about is that in this post (which is probably the best blog/tribune to get all the info), the focus is on the pictures rather than on the content.

      Is it denial, Stockholm Syndrome or Cognitive Dissonance? I don't know.

      What I can say is that lot's of informations and details are not reported or just considered non-relevant.

    3. It is very true, there is a decent amount of info out there, but you have to do some digging. Also, as the mayor mentioned in the tsn clip above, he is not looking to negotiate publicly, and won't divulge sensitive info related to investors and stadium info. The problem is the public is impatient and demands results and proof immediately, not realizing that building a stadium or buying a team doesn't happen overnight. Either way, Codere is going about this the right way, and managing people's expectations as he goes along.

      The thing is, as I stated above, this meeting isn't happening if the financing and stadium plans aren't already in place. Otherwise, Manfred would be having these meetings on a weekly basis with legacy-minded mayors from San Antonio, Charlotte, or Portland.

  5. What if the Rays would like to play games in Montreal?

    Excerpt from the article:

    Montreal mayor Denis Coderre told MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week during their meeting in New York that several clubs have expressed interest in playing home games next season in Montreal.

    When asked if the Rays were one of those teams, Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman, in a text to The Tribune, wrote: “We do not know anything about teams playing games away from their home ballparks. In the past we have played home games in Japan and Orlando. Those games can be beneficial to MLB, can expand our fan base and may provide a positive revenue benefit which in turn allows us to further invest in our on-field product.”

    1. That could be a very dangerous game for the Rays to play. On the one hand, it could take the "fear-mongering" to the next level, on the hopes that members of the St Pete council flip their votes. On the other hand, I do think that it would have such a negative effect on ticket sales, that it almost wouldn't matter, as I think many fans would give up on their team, not unlike what happened in Montreal with the San Juan games.

    2. Rays cannot play games away from home park without city's permission.

    3. But nothing prohibit playing away games in Montreal against a team that decide to play home game in Montreal, right?

  6. And Noah, one picture is missing in this post. Look at the size of the suitcase of Mayor Coderre at 1:10 in this video.

    And you don't need to understand french to recognize such large suitcase that architects usually use.

    So yes they talked about their love of baseball with nice pictures. But guess where were the most interesting pictures on large carton? In the suitcase or on Twitter? ;)

    Stay Tuned!

    P.S. Darcy Raymond (Rays VP of Marketing, a Montrealer) will be on 98.5 FM Sports radio show later tonight. And the question is: Does the Rays would like to play games in Montreal in 2016 (as a visiting team, of course, in order to be compliant with the UA and avoid legal actions from St-Pete)?

  7. This is a small world. While Mayor Coderre and Kriseman are eating at the same table, Darcy Raymond, Rays Marketing VP is in the same restaurant and stop by the mayors table.

    French clip audio to follow as soon as the interview is online from 98.5FM.

    1. Here is the link. Sorry, the interview is in french.

  8. This is another confirmation (from an insider, Rodger Brulotte) that mayor Coderre show-up the picture of the future stadium, the financial plan and all relevant information to Manfred last week.

    Here is the transcript in french.

    The original version of the post is here but it's only accessible to VIP members.

    The ball is in the MLB camp now.