The file with the return of big baseball in Montreal leaves very few people indifferent.
In the year 2020, when the world has been completely turned upside down and where the considerations of the recipient’s companions have finally become more important than those as a designated hitter, it was probably fashionable for Stephen Bronfman’s group to temporarily step aside. . This does not mean that the shared custody project between Montreal and Tampa Bay has not progressed.
“What I am told behind the scenes is that the project continues to move forward, but at a different pace than we had expected for 2020,” says journalist Frédéric Daigle, from The Canadian Press, who has been following the case for several years. “There are people from the Montreal group who spend a lot of time studying the Rays books and the economics package. It too is moving forward! “
Interview with Frédéric Daigle
The journalist’s information could not be confirmed by the Bronfman Group, which refused any interview request related to the subject. In fact, the group has not spoken since the submission of the Peel Basin development report in March. The commissioners refused to comment on the construction of a stadium due to lack of information about the project.
The economic factor
We can believe that the portfolio of members of the Stephen Bronfman Group, which also includes Stéphan Crétier from Garda World, Alain Bouchard from Couche-Tard, Eric Boyko from Stingray, as well as investor Mitch Garber, is as solid as before. the start of the pandemic. It remains to be seen whether their willingness to invest in sports real estate is still present. While they probably felt some concern during the spring, they were most likely dampened by the $ 2.4 billion sale of the New York Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen.
Mets were sold at 83 times their annual profit. To give you an idea, if you buy an Apple stock now, you pay about 35 times the annual profit, the journalist analyzes from Print, Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot. “The Mets have not seen their value drop much with the pandemic. A long-term investor who wants a professional team believes that the business model will return to what it was when the pandemic is over. “
Interview with Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot
The Canadian market
The border closure took its toll on the Toronto Blue Jays, who were forced to play all their games while roaming the United States. It would have been the same for “Expos 2.0”.
Will the exceptional situation in 2020 change the perception towards a team’s location outside the United States. One thing is for sure, this factor has been added to the list of pitfalls that the joint storage project has already faced, in the eyes of the director of the International Observatory in Sports Management at Laval University, Frank Pons.
I’m not sure the idea of having a franchise in two countries is the best solution right now. I did not believe in the project, I believe in it even less. There is huge interest in Montreal, but I think interest in Tampa Bay is waning. “
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has been almost as low-key as Stephen Bronfman. But in a rare interview given this summer to Tampa Bay Times, he still continued that the pandemic showed that a team can only depend on a single home or a single market. He also indicated during this interview that work continued with the Stephen Bronfman Group.
What about expansion?
A recent study by Team Marketing Report shows that the absence of spectators in the stadiums led to a loss of revenue of 5 billion dollars. This shortcoming may accelerate the expansion process to 32 teams, wanted by Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“I am in Quebec, and we hear the same reasoning a lot for the Nordics: it is possible! Admits Professor Frank Pons. “However, there is a lot of money in a very risky time and an economy that has not recovered. This is an important blank check. “
“If the question really arises and there is an expansion and there is a vacancy for Montreal, I’m sure it will be studied by the Montreal Group,” said Frédéric Daigle.
The journalist points out that despite the end of the honeymoon between the commissioner and the players’ association, after long negotiations that led to the resumption of major baseball activities in July, the joint custody project has not been compromised.
“Although Commissioner Manfred has lost popularity, at the level of baseball owners in major leagues, the sister city project Tampa-Montreal has been approved and presented by the executive committee. “
The year 2028 was targeted for the return of baseball to Montreal under shared custody. The pandemic will have heavily muddy the water in this file, which is still quite secret.