The Montréal Impact MLS team plays in Saputo Stadium, which was privately built then expanded with public money to prepare for the Impact’s elevation to the big leagues in 2012. Except in the start and end of the MLS season, when it’s too damn cold to play outside in Montréal, so the Impact play in domed Olympic Stadium instead. Except when it snows, because then this happens:
The Montreal Impact’s MLS home opening game against the Seattle Sounders has been postponed until Sunday because of the fear of snow accumulation on Olympic Stadium roof…
Forecasts predict 15 centimetres of snow to fall on Saturday. Due to the instability of stadium dome, which is in need of replacement or repair, events cannot be held there if more than three centimetres of snow is forecast.
You probably already know where this is headed: Impact vice president Richard Legendre is calling for government-backed renovations to Olympic Stadium so that his team can use it reliably the one month a year when it doesn’t want to play outdoors:
“What we can change are the six months when there’s no use made of [the stadium],” Legendre told MLSsoccer.com via phone. “And I strongly believe that with a somewhat revamped stadium we could use 12 months a year, we could be surprised by the number of events that would take place there. We’ll never be able to self-finance the additional costs, but there’d be more revenue.”
Translated: The extra revenue from not having to risk rescheduling a couple of soccer games will never pay for a new roof, even if this roof ends up working better than the last new roof, which is now ripping an astounding 2,000 times per year.
A new roof would cost an estimated $200-300 million — for that price, Montréal would almost certainly just be better off forgoing the occasional soccer match, or even spending the money to buy tickets for everyone in the city to go see games in Florida or something every March. No response yet from Montréal officials that I’ve seen, but given that the two things that have never changed in the history of the Big Owe are complaining about the building’s cost and then spending more money on it anyway, I have to expect that at least this will end up getting a public hearing of some kind, whether it makes any sense or not.