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May 07, 2010
Montreal MLS team approved, to play some games at Big Owe
The Montreal Impact have been officially designated as MLS' 19th franchise, starting in 2012.
As part of the elevation of the team from its current second-tier league (which has a crazy-long name that you really don't want to try to understand) to the bigs, its brand-new Saputo Stadium will be expanded to hold 20,000 fans; as a condition of being granted the expansion team by MLS, the $23 million Canadian cost is being paid for by the province of Quebec, even though the stadium itself is owned by team.
The promotion of the Impact will also mark the return of regular pro sports to Olympic Stadium, which has been mostly vacant since the Expos left town after 2004, and will now be used to host "select matches" of the soccer team. Now, to bring back Youppi!
Nah, Youppi already got a new job with the Canadiens.
Don't care, we want YOUPPI!
another example of politicians throwing good money after bad, you would have thought they'd have learned form the last time (big owe).
less than an even money bet that this franchise won't last a decade...
Paul I think you're selling the Impact short. They're already a successful team at the D2 level. And they'll continue to be at the D1 level just like Toronto and Seattle.
The Impact have been around since 1994, playing in each of the precursor leagues to the present NASL. The club have drawn between 8-10k on average for the past several years, and have seen a significant upswing in attendance since moving into their purpose built (and privately funded) 13,000 seat stadium. As Neil pointed out, the club drew 55k+ for it's Concacaf champions league QF a couple of years ago.
Yes, the gov't will fund an expansion of that stadium (which in truth will involve removing - and hopefully reusing elsewhere - two bleacher style stands and replacing them with more permanent fixtures). Since the original stadium ($15.5M if I remember right) and the franchise fee were paid by the owner, it's hard to argue this is good money after bad. The private sector has already invested just under $60M in this franchise. The public money going in (still a subsidy, no question, and thus up for debate) is the first of it's kind into this franchise.
I can't imagine the war in the terraces between the Toronto and Montreal supporters..... gonna be great for MLS.