Welcome to the Party Montreal

The big story in MLS is the arrival of Montreal as the league’s 19th franchise. Although the announcement is scheduled for Friday afternoon, multiple sources are reporting the news.   The Impact are scheduled to start play in 2012 and will join Toronto and Vancouver as Canadian franchises.  Long rumored, the move to Montreal immediately provides MLS with a promising franchise and a fervent fan base.  The Impact regularly attract 10k as a second division club suggesting that numbers closer to 20k are possible in MLS.

Montreal has shown an ability to support soccer (remember that big Canada Cup crowd) and is close to securing a 21k soccer specific stadium. A third Canadian team would create a nice rivalry and Saputo is solid potential owner.  However, with Vancouver and Portland right around the corner, there is a question whether the League can handle another franchise so quickly.  The dilution of the talent pool is a big concern.  That said, Montreal would be a great venue for MLS. MLS will now have a huge footprint in Canada and provide a home team for an enormous swath of the Canadian population (big for TV dollars).

The plan is to expand the current 13k stadium to a capacity of about 21k for MLS matches.  Two years should be plenty of time for such an expansion. The Impact already have games scheduled against AC Milan and Fiorentina this Summer at Olympic Stadium and the looming entrance to MLS should provide extra eyeballs on those matches as the Montreal crowds gear up for first division football.

The Montreal move is a no-brainer.  There is no city in the US or Canada more likely to avidly support soccer than Montreal.  The big question is whether another city will join Montreal in 2012 or whether the league will wait for the perfect opportunity.

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3 Responses

  1. good for mls and montreal.
    im thinking mls will stop expanding at 22 teams.
    atl, st louis and nyc2 to round it out.

  2. I am a Montreal reader that has been reading you for sometime now, thanks for welcoming us and we are truly looking forward to 2012! A last season of soccer before the end of the world!

  3. I don’t buy “the talent pool will be diluted if the league continues to expand” argument for a second. Maybe if it was England or Spanish top flight but theirs an endless supply of players that are around MLS caliber and would love to live in the United States or Canada. What does need to be done now that MLS is rapidly expanding is to allow a lot more foreign born players. MLS fans are proud that it is “Our league”. But U.S. players are now successful enough that most MLS supporters won’t feel like if a foreign born players are taking jobs from their countrymen. They just want a good performance on the pitch. Players from the Americas and Africa can do that inexpensively. Asia is an untapped market and it could potentially help merchandise sale tremendously but I don’t know if MLS is going that way.
    Congratulations, Jeremy, what team is you follow before?

    MLS needs cities that support franchises, Canadians support sports franchises and are VOCAL. Would my city (Austin, TX) ever support a soccer franchise? not a chance. Great, now I’m upset.

    One of the many things that makes having a streak of successful franchises being added to the league is that it puts a lot of pressure on the underperforming franchises to step up and be conpetitive. Garber is ex-NFL, once the league turns a profit he will not play nice.

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