Potential Return of the Montreal Expos

Some movement on the potential return of des Expos. Below is a rendering of a potential new ballpark.

It would be cool if the Rays moved to Montreal as that would be a perfect AL East rival for the Jays.

Montreal could not do any worse than Tampa Bay attendance wise. The Rays are dead last in attendance again (6th year in a row) - averaging only 15,597 per game - about 3,000 less per game than the second worst team in the league Oakland.

The Rays will end the year for the 4th year in a row with fewer than 1.3 miillion fans about 1.9 million behind the Jays this season and about a million below the league average.

I think MLB will do whatever they can to prevent a team based in the USA from relocating to Canada as baseball is so ingrained as part of the American culture, America's pastime as they say, hotdogs, baseball and Chevy's.

Also it would be sad for Tampa's fans who do love their team, to lose their team. I for one do not wish that on their dedicated fan base whether that fan base is small or large. That would be sad and another sad mark on professional sports in general. But yes, pro sports in the end is a corporate business, for sure.

I'd love to see the Expos return as an expansion franchise though. Baseball is a great game and the more pro teams usually translates into kids wanting to take up the game more and be a participant.

Hey Earl. I would feel bad for the small Rays fan base too - but the bottom line is this is MAJOR League Baseball and the Rays even though sometimes having very good and exciting teams they have not been able to draw Major League sized crowds. This goes back at least 15 years. I just did a quick check and in 2005 they averaged only 14,000.

They've tried playing some of their home games in Orlando, downsizing the stadium, having post game concerts, they've tried tweeking their start times to draw more fans etc. and pretty much NOTHING has worked so far.

Were it not for the thousands of visiting team fans the team draws - especially some of their 18 home games against the Red Sox and Yankees - where often there are more fans cheering for the BoSox or Yankees than the Rays - their poor attendance average would even be worse.

So at some point something has got to give. Would a new stadium in the Tampa area do it? Is there somebody willing to risk hundreds of million in the hope that would change the track record of bad attendance since day one?

And the problem is well known right in Tampa.
http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/rays-tales-energy-from-road-crowds-underscores-what-rays-are-missing/2335283

Rays Tales: Energy from road crowds underscores what Rays are missing

The weekend trip to St. Louis, then on to Kansas City, gives the Rays another chance to see what life is like on the other side, where baseball games are considered big events and fans flock to stadiums, providing energy that serves as precious fuel, especially during a playoff push.
And they could use it after another uninspiring and lonely homestand at the Trop, where the three most recent games, against Toronto, drew acombined30,345 — including Wednesday's 10-plus-year record low of 8,264, on the night (coincidentally?) that MLB commissionerRob Manfredwas in town to turn up the rhetoric on the need for a new stadium.


I'd love to see them move to Montreal.

Yes the attendance isn't pretty down in TB but at the end of the day it comes down to if there's enough public $$$ towards anew stadium. This is a real reason why the Expos left.

Attendance isn't great for Florida/Miami either. Loira got a boatload of $$$ from the public coffers for the new stadium. Attendance still isn't good (better than TB) but the team still sold for 1.2 billion.

At the end of the day if there is enough $$ for a new stadium in Montreal and there isn't in Tampa Bay, the owners will green light the move.

But yes, an AL east featuring the Jays, Expos, Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles would be cool to see.

Well for sure, if they can get a new stadium built in Montreal and with some big time money for ownership, MLB may have to move a team like Rays if they can't get a new stadium down there.

But I'd feel sorry for their dedicated fanbase and again, this is the dark side to the very business of professional sports. A lot it just plainly stinks to high heavens.

I think this is nothing more than a pipe dream.
Just like the nonsensical crap perpetrated here in Toronto many years now for a NFL team.
Especially as recently following the hurricane Irma devastation, Montreal advised MLB they were willing to have some of the games scheduled for Miami or Tampa and were flatly rejected.

Very true. It's never easy for one group of fans to get a team at the expense of another's.

On the flip side, if the Rays do get a new Stadium deal in addition, the ground work to replace Oakland's is happening too...Expansion will move closer to the front burner as Manfred has said many times as they need to be resolved first.

If Montreal gets ready, they have 2 paths in.

Edit: Montreal was turned down for the rescheduled games due to logistics of having moving both teams in short notice. Houston vs. Texas made more sense in TB as they had dates open and the field already set up. Rays vs. Yankees obviously made more sense to have them in Citi Field...The visiting team could take the subway!

Hey, I like watching pro sports, well some anyways, but I don't get why there is so much hype over having professional sports teams to try and "legitimize" if you will, your city as some sort of "cool place to be because we have a big time pro sports team and a new stadium or arena ...." sort of deal. I don't get it really. :-\

But who am I to say, I do watch sports and pay for them via my cable subscription so really, I am one to talk. Sports is one of the few live shows on TV these days apart from news. Big money.

No word on where the stadium would be located other than "downtown", huh? I wonder if they'd pull down the Big O and put it there.

Most rumours I hear is the Peel Basin in Griffintown as the location.

Put it to a referendum - as per the mayor. Hopefully it will lose.

When did the mayor say anything about a referendum? Mr. Coderre has been very supportive for MLB’s return so I think he would rather have things done behind closed doors.

Not so much for football - which only has a minimal number of home games - but for baseball (80+), hockey and basketball (40+) there can be a huge positive economic impact for a city if a major league team which can draw 18,000+ for hockey and basketball 40+ times a year and baseball which can draw 25,000 - 30,000+ 80 times a year is located there.

Lots of fans come in from out of town - so with them you capture hotel room nights and all the money they spend at shops, restaurants and bars. When the Jays travelled to Wrigley Field earlier this year it was estimated 10,000 Jays fans went to Chicago that weekend. That is a huge positive impact just from that one weekend for Chicago hotels, bars, restaurant, shops and other touristy things those 10,000 Jays fans would have visited during their weekend there.

I live two blocks from First Ontario Centre in Hamilton and that downtown area - which is slowly but surely recovering from decades of sad days - would have rapidly improved if any of the efforts to move an NHL team ever had succeeded. Can you imagine - close to 20,000 people downtown 40+ times a year - year after year. What a boon that would have been for so many businessess in the downtown area.

These days the odd time that arena hosts something that actually does draw a big crowd - like some of the concerts - the entire area comes alive for hours before the concert with packed bars and restaurants with lineups to get in. On most nights many of those same places sit fairly empty.

My bad. I should have said...

"Put it to a referendum - as per the Projet Montréal. Hopefully it will lose."


Canadian tax dollars should NOT be spent on stadium building.

Pat, no offence, but the NHL in Hamilton. hahahhaha :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

What a joke, never ever going to happen, the Rays have a better chance of moving to Mont Royal than the city of Eisenberger ever will have will the NHL especially in that arena in Hamilton. Needs so much money to be NHL "ready" not going to happen with the Leafs and Sabres making sure it doesn't happen. Hamilton is toast with the NHL, worst thing they did was build that arena way back when. It set the city back decades to get an NHL team as now they are stuck with the place.

:stuck_out_tongue:

Hamilton is not on the NHL radar at all except as a toilet seat. Mind you I must admit I've heard Fred loves toilet seats. :-*

Have we not had enough scandalous building/games involved and paid for by the taxpayers.
Here is only a few that I can recall.

  1. Olympic Stadium - like McDonalds over 1B+ served, we will likely pay for this ugly monstrosity way after it is demolished. Prior to the Montreal 76 Olympics with then Mayor Jean Drapeau famously stating how the games can no more have a deficit than a man could have a baby.
  2. Skydome - original taxpayers budget was $200M, ended up for $600M+, then sold bargain basement for $25M, tell me that's not a further scandal.
  3. Toronto Pan Scam Games - originally budget was around $100M for a third rate event, ended up around $400M+.

Bottom line, the politicians or entrepreneurs cannot be trusted when there is taxpayers funds/land involved.

Yes ArgoT and your post reminds me that we should all visit, from time to time, Field of Schemes, to keep us honest on this arena/stadium schtick thingy:

http://www.fieldofschemes.com

It's not that arenas and stadiums are necessarily bad investments for cities, it just that such investments really need to be looked at if they make sense in whatever city in light of other financial pressures such and such a city is under. Does it make sense for Joe Blow taxpayer? That IS the question IMHO.

But most cities want nice new and shiny stadiums and big pro teams to make them look relevant and to hide their real problems that won't ever go away. The way it is I guess. :-\

Good site Earl, thanks.
If any one else has other similar sites it would be awesome to share with us here.

You won't hear that many Ti-Cats fans complain too much about the Pan Am games since we got THF out of the deal with minimum contributions from the city itself.

And Earl I know NOW there is no way that Hamilton will get an NHL team - but had we gotten one when we were expected to - as an expansion team instead of Ottawa - or when we came close to getting Nashville - even had 15,000 people send in deposits of a few hundred bucks each on season tickets and there had even been drawings for renovations to the arena at that time, raising the roof, adding private boxes, bring capacity up to 19,000 - had we gotten the team one of those times - Hamilton's downtown would be WAY further along with its redevelopment than it is now.