Montreal stepping up MLS expansion efforts

The Montreal publication La Presse is reporting that (soon to be former) Liverpool owner George Gillet is joining forces with the Saputo family, owners of the USL Montreal Impact, to push for an MLS expansion team in Montreal.

The story goes on to say the group believes it could land an expansion team by 2009, which seems extremely unlikely given the fact that Philadelphia is set to join in 2010. If Montreal is to move ahead of the likes of favorite St. Louis and contenders Atlanta and Miami, it would take a bid of record proportions, but even that may not allow a second Canadian team to join MLS in the immediate future.

Ultimately money does talk and having Gillet, who owns the NHL’s Montreal Canadians, join forces with the Saputos give the Montreal expansion bid major financial muscle. Will that be enough to allow Montreal to join the expansion line?

What do you think of this story? Think having a second Canadian team before so many other American markets is a good move? Is it a bad move? Do you just want an excuse to visit the Gentlemen’s clubs in Montreal? Share your thoughts below?

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to Montreal stepping up MLS expansion efforts

  1. Mike M says:

    I travel to Montreal for work fairly regulary and the Impact have a good following. A new stadium is already in the process of being built for them as well.

  2. SoccerMan says:

    Soccer in Canada is well supported. MLS Mgmt better recognize this quick if they want stability in this league. Hopefully Canadian support for soccer is contagious to our American counterparts.

  3. kco says:

    Natural rivalry with Toronto, great fan support (so I’ve heard) for their USL side, “base” for a decent stadium, I think Montreal would be great for MLS. But I’m sure it’s still a few years off. Guess we’ll see how the money works out. I could see them as the 16th franchise after StL. We will see.

  4. Adam says:

    I’d laugh pretty hard if after Toronto tried so hard to fabricate a rivalry with Columbus that they’d probably abandon it for a rivalry with Montreal.

  5. VictorM says:

    Very rich owners with lots of sports experience, a soccer specific stadium sized just right (after upgrade), and an existing fan base with good potential to mimic Toronto’s success. What’s not to like?

  6. Fuego Fanatico says:

    I think a second Canadian team in Montreal would be awesome and an instant hit a la Toronto.

    17 – St Louis (2011)

    18 – Montreal (2011)

    19 – Miami (2012)

    20 – NYC2 (2012)

  7. Jim says:

    The Impact draw around 12k per game and the new stadium will only help their profitability. From what I’ve seen of it the place looks nice but would actually need improvements/expansion for MLS.

    I’m a US supporter and many cities here deserve teams before another Canadian city, but long range having three Canadian teams would help MLS & Canadian soccer immensely. A stronger Canadian National team also helps CONCACAF.

    How teams should MLS have? I think long range it could be more than 20.

  8. David Berger says:

    17 – St Louis (2011)

    18 – Montreal (2011)

    19 – Miami (2012)

    20 – Atlanta (2012)

  9. Miguel says:

    The link to the story isn’t working for me, but here it is (in French):

    link to cyberpresse.ca

  10. Steve says:

    Good deal. Montreal would be the 17th team. St Louis the 18th.

    Fifa has a rule that 1st/top leagues have a maximum of 20 teams. Which 2 might get the last spots?

  11. gimmi says:

    i have no idea why Atlanta and Miami is even mentioned as a possible expansion spot. Atlantas fan base for any sport sucks. And Miami, already failed; also ask the Marlins.

  12. DCUinCT says:

    Expansion seem unlikely, but how long till one of the other markets gives up the ghost and moves to Montreal? Montreal Wizards anyone?

    Or who knows how long the Earthquake experiment will last this time.

  13. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    This would be an amazing move. It would foster a great rivalry/hatred/derby between Toronto and Montreal. It would definitely have the support of the locals and great financial backing. I really hope this goes through.

  14. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    PS

    Anyone that knows the rivalry between Toronto and Montreal knows how intense this will be. Also it will do nothing for anglo/french relations, HA!

  15. brett says:

    once STL get their team, the options are up in the air…

    the south has failed with 2 teams in the past, do they deserve a team?? some would think so, and with Boca looking to expand into the MLS it seems Miami may be in lines as well… the problem with only having 1 team down south is there is no rival for the team… the closest team would be either in texas or DC…

    atlanta would be a bad choice in my opinion…

    as long as the markets in the south east are looked into and compared to what Montreal will be able to produce i dont care where the expansion teams go after STL…

    a question tho, do US players count towards Toronto’s international players?? or are they allowed 2 US players ontop of their 8 international??

  16. mb says:

    are they going to play on TURF? thats all MLS needs, another turf field.

  17. EDB says:

    i think Montreal is the natural choice over STL. As much as I would like STL being in chicago I think Montreal just makes more sense. with the stadium, the natural rivalry. I would like to see STL after and Vancouver which could spark up a candian rivalry and one with seatle.

  18. CD says:

    “Expansion seem unlikely, but how long till one of the other markets gives up the ghost and moves to Montreal? Montreal Wizards anyone?”

    Chivas le Montreal has an interesting ring to it. A famous Mexican club with a franchise in a mainly US league, in the French speaking part of Canada. The marketing possibilities are endless. At the concession stand build with Home Depot supplies you could get your maple croissant with a Corona.

  19. hfm_maverick says:

    Montreal’s new Saputo stadium is natural grass. Something us Toronto fans who will travel to Montreal for the Canada Cup will look at enviously.

  20. RK says:

    gimmi, please. The south needs a team. It would be incredibly stupid to ignore the entire region.

  21. brett says:

    EDB- why Vancouver?? why not Portland, seeing as Seatle and portland already have a quality rivalry…

    while Montreal may already have a stadium in the process, STL already has their foot in the door… i wouldnt be surprised if they both come in the same year tho… 2010 or 2011, what with 2-3 yrs STL could easily have produced their own stadium

    as long as Montreal’s followers actually see this as a positive and decide to swap followings (looking back at the metro fans that refuse to support the redbulls) i wouldnt object to montreal getting a team…

    assuming STL can get a financial backer, id assume they’ll be next in line… if they cant get one soon, i wouldnt be shocked to see montreal get the go-a-head

  22. Nick says:

    I know this is a retread of what others have said, but you really can’t get past the fact that they already get 12k a game, have a stadium that is set to open this Spring, not some imaginary date in the future, and would have an amazing rivalry with Toronto. I actually think that Montreal would make a better expansion franchise than anywhere else at this point in time. Add to the fact that I live directly in between Montreal and NYC, a Montreal MLS team would make for some cool choices for me for matches.

    My one concern is Montreal’s ability to field Canadian players that are good enough to play in the MLS. Toronto seems to have the cream of the crop when it comes to Canadians that aren’t in Europe. Maybe Montreal could make DeRo their DP.

  23. Felix says:

    Well if you go by what MLS says, they don’t want to expand anymore for the time being after 2010. But like you said Ives, money talks, and having that kind of financial weight behind a second Canadian franchise is going to be tough for MLS to ignore. It’ll be interesting, it’s probably just all talk though.

  24. brett says:

    RK- i agree that we should look at the south, but they did have 2 failed experiements… and having just 1 team in a region would be dumb, as they’d have no rival and id see the team fizzling out (similar to what already happened…

    i would be interested to see what a team in NC could produce, i just think Miami and Atlanta is a bad choice.. or possibly see about the Battery upgrading?? seeing as we’re seeing this more and more, why not look to push up a team with a quality following already??

  25. kpugs says:

    I am all for MLS expansion of any sort.

    However we all know the MLS is not all know the league is not that profitable. If the dollar ever resurges these owners are going to get hosed, just like some Canadian NHL teams were getting hosed.

    Having said that, the dollar and Canadian dollar are just about even, so a second Canadian team RIGHT NOW wouldn’t suffer. Who knows what it will be like in 2009.

    In terms of the location…St. Louis in my mind should have been ahead of all other cities including Seattle, San Jose, and Philly.

    After St. Louis, North Carolina and Florida have to fit in. Canada should be an afterthought. But I would welcome any team with serious (and rich) owners regardless of location.

  26. RK says:

    The Battery? Although I love Charleston, only 500k people live there. Miami failed because of other reasons, not support. Atlanta’s supposed failure to support teams is overblown. And I’m not sure why rivalries are such a big deal — what would that impact, one or two games a year?

    Ignoring the south would be as dumb as ignoring the Pacific NW. I think one major issue is that 20 teams would actually not be enough for this huge country — look how many teams the other pro leagues can handle.

  27. TK says:

    Wow, so much lack of understanding of the Montreal team.

    They are non profit.

    Their tix cost virtually nothing 5-10$.

    All youth teams/players are admitted for free.

    Huge amount of comp tix per match. I walked up when on vaca last summer without tix and was handed three right outside the satdium for free.

    Yes, the numbers look very good, but what happens when these fans actually have to pay? I’m sure that with the stadium, deep pockets of th eowners and the TFC rivalry the chances are that they will draw well.

    It is still important to know your market and it’s TV size also. TV size is huge moving forward folks.

    Just wanted to throw some facts out to people praying at the Canadian alter.

    Also, remember that Saputo had nothing but terrible things to say about MLS until the last year when it was obvious MLS was gonna crush the USL.

    Deep pockets/stadium in Atlanta or even a 2nd NY team might look better than a Montreal team with regards to legaue growth an dTV rev.

    I know soccer fans don’t understand the business aspect that well, but this is reality.

    MLS does not need Montreal as much as they need MLS now. Especially with USL getting shredded even further.

    I would welcome a solid group from Montreal but get the facts straight boys.

  28. Nick says:

    @Steve: Interesting point you bring up about the FIFA 20 team rule. In a country the size of the US, I just don’t see that stopping the MLS in terms of expansion. There are just too many cities that want teams and too much money on the line not to go past 20. Off the top of my head these are the cities that are known to want an MLS team: NYC2, Montreal, Vancouver, Portland, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami, STL and Phoenix. Maybe Columbus, Chivas and KC get moved to one of these cities, but maybe they don’t. Add that to the 16 teams already announced and you have 25 teams. If the league went single table and everyone played once, home and away you would have a 48 game season. That’s a lot of games, especially with SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions League, MLS Cup and the US Open Cup. Maybe keep two tables and play each team in your conference twice and each team in the other conference once for a total of 36 games. Not so bad.

    I’m really interested to see FIFAs reaction to this, given that MLS is gaining in popularity in this country and having soccer be big in the US and Canada can only help FIFA and their commercial partners. Any thoughts on this Ives?

  29. DCAustinite says:

    miami and tampa failed because of support. I remember looking at lockhart stadium and seeing 7k in there. Those days are over. If you can’t bring 20k to every home game, you’re not getting a team, plain and simple.

  30. rkupp says:

    I think MLS should be thinking about starting a 2nd division, where the franchises would cost less, but would have to do w/o an expansion draft (an ideal starting point for a team like the Impact or Rochester or Charleston).

    Plan for a promotion/relegation system starting in, say, 5 years, to make the current franchises secure (and add satisfactory stadiums, etc. as a requirement for promotion).

    Otherwise, MLS is nearing the end of expansion possibilities, or else the league will get too watered down. There are SO MANY possible cities, that this could be the ideal time to build a 2nd division.

  31. RK says:

    With a large league, you’d have to have uneven NFL scheduling, two distinct conferences that don’t play each other ala the old MLB, or…relegation ;)

  32. Derek says:

    i went to undergrad at McGill in Montreal and went to a couple Impact games — given their attendance and their sometimes raucous supporter’s group MLS would be foolish to not expand here.

  33. brett says:

    RK- while they may only have 500k people, you’d have to look at surrounding areas as well… the battery have a loyal support already established… its not a bad idea

    Miami is just not a great location for a team… the wealthy arent interested, the foreign population already support other leagues, otherwise locations like chicago would have 0 problems in housing sell-out crowds… yes miami may be a soccer haven but i dont see it supporting a MLS team…

    fact is with ATL is we have to look at the other team as refrence… do their fans look fickle?? when their team loses do they throw their arms in the air and stop going, until they start winning?? i dunno..

    i agree ignoring the south would be foolish, but if we can house teams elsewhere that will be successful in the stands consistantly i dont see where the problem is…

    why are rivalries a big deal?? its what drives the fan base… when Purdue comes to IU i can garentee you that the atmosphere is 10X louder and better then if Penn State came… i cant believe im actually having to say this O.o

  34. Ed Ho says:

    I think adding a 2nd team in Canada in the hsort term is a very bad move. The league is right to step back now and look to improve the quality and perception of the league versus take any rich owner who wants in.

    The biggest issue teh league faces right now is quality of play on the field, followed by acceptance by the general US sporting public. THe US part is key. I love Canada, Eh. But, we really need to focus on the general US population to have MLS succeed. That pays off in TV contracts and ESPN exposure. So, while I love Canada, putting a team in Montreal does nothing for MLS as a league (right now) in my opinion.

    BTW, I hope no one is making an NHL analogy here for why more teams in Canada can succeed. It simply doesn’t apply to soccer.

  35. TK says:

    More to chew on.

    MLS is not buiding a 2nd division.

    People are not buying in to go D2.

    GEt a grip folks. Thsi isn’t Europe, no matter how much pining that goes own.

    Can’t wait for the prom/rel statement.

    FIFA cares about number of matche splayed. Not teams. Since almost all leagues play home and away, and they aren’t changing, the number of teams means more games.

    The US coul dhave 30 teams in 30 years and as long as the number of matches is limited it won’t be an issue. We don’t have that same home and away menatlity/need, and it isn’t going to happen so stop dreaming Euro wannabees, that it won’t be an issue here.

    Just liek our other pro leagues.

    I can’t belive we have so many posters who supposedly love an dfollow this game…yet know so little about it here, with regards to structure, money, set up…you name it.

  36. Moneyball says:

    I think putting a team in Montreal is a no-brainer. There is absolutely no chance it will fail. Can the same be said about any of the other markets being discussed for expansion right now?

    Miami has already failed and somehow manages to screw up a baseball team that won 2 World Series in its short existence. Atlanta is no sure thing, and from what I’ve heard it’s biggest asset is geographical location. Without a stadium or proven support, it’s a leap of faith. Even St. Louis makes less sense than Monteal. Is it a soccer hotbed with tons of history? Yes…but it’s also a pretty small market and it still has a lot to work out with investors and stadium plans. Don’t get me wrong, I think St. Louis makes sense, but Montreal honestly has the most impressive package for expansion AT THIS POINT.

    Top reasons: The history of support for the impact, the strong ownership, the success of Toronto, and the new natural grass stadium, which according to wikipedia (I know, I know)”will hold around 13,500 people and can be expand to 17,000 in the future for possible Major League Soccer expansion plans.”

    The MLS would almost have to search for reasons NOT to expand to Montreal.

  37. eric says:

    Please tell me that Montreal is ahead of Atlanta for a team. Atlanta has a history not supporting any of their teams, from the Braves not being able to sell out playoff games to half empty Hawks and Falcons games. Unless someone tells me their hockey team was a run-away smash hit, Atl is the most fickle big market in the country.

  38. Steve says:

    Where are the players going to come from? Toronto couldn’t find enough players for one team.

    The expansion game is getting ahead of itself. List of things the league should be worried about before expanding to Montreal or anywhere else.

    1) See how things go in SJ, Seattle & Philly?

    2) Straighten out the stadium messes in SJ, DC, NJ, KC (I’ll argue for getting off the NFL turf in Seattle and NE too but they’re not going to do anything about that).

    3) Assess the viability of poorly performing (box office wise) teams in LA and Columbus.

    Which means no new teams until at least 2012. Sorry folks but patience WILL pay off on this front.

  39. Christiano says:

    I think any city that can expand the level of interest in soccer by having a vast fan base in Canada or USA deserves a team. Toronto and Seattle are perfect examples. If MLS can mimic those expansion decisions, the game atmosphere of this league can only go up. This is why I believe bringing back San Jose was a wrong decisions. They dont deserve their team because their fan attendance is lacking.

  40. The other Eric... says:

    The problem with Atlanta is not that it’s fans are “Bad”. I don’t know many markets that would pack it in for an NBA team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years, and has been one of the worst in the league for the last 5.

    The problem for the big 4 sports is the cities transient population. That is – many have a loyalty to other sports teams in other cities.

    Being that MLS is just over a decade old, that really isn’t an issue.

    If MLS wants to get a foothold in the South – there is no other place they can put the team but Atlanta. It’s driveable from pretty much every other major city, save for Miami, and has a very large and growing Hispanic population.

    I would hope MLS would do a little research and not buy into the stereotype that all of you media drones(who’ve probably never visited Atlanta)have lapped up from ESPN.

    FYI – lots of teams don’t sell out Wild Card baseball playoff games…especially when they’re constantly being bumped to 4pm first pitches, so the Yankees can be on in primetime…

  41. AndrewFromBoston says:

    what bout the report form Steve Goff yesterday? Garber told him that they’re seriously reconsidering their future expansion plans. Seems they’re going to take a break from expanding after philly joins.

  42. The other Eric... says:

    Also, eric…what has Montreal done to deserve a team? Their support of the Canadiens, and their 26 Stanley Cup titles, or the it the 40,000 empty seats at Expos games?

    Heck – they’ve even had and lost CFL teams on numerous occasions.

    Yeah – great candidate. Way to take your cues from ESPN.

  43. A.S. says:

    “My one concern is Montreal’s ability to field Canadian players that are good enough to play in the MLS.”

    Exactly. Toronto already has problems with this idiotic MLS rule about the maximum number of non-Canadian players on the team. Why MLS has this rule flummoxes me – you would think that all the MLS teams should be playing under the same rules. But noooooo, for some asinine reason, MLS makes Toronto play under a different set of rules. If you added in Montreal, it would make the Canadian situation even worse.

    If they fixed the rule, I wouldn’t care as between Montreal and STL/ATL/whatever. But it just doesn’t make sense right now with the rules the way they are.

  44. Matt says:

    I’d love it. Great road trip!

  45. Moibus says:

    A lot of people really don’t seem to get the Miami thing—MLS already is, and will moreso as the years pass, competing for players in the international marketplace. Miami is an attractive destination. When European or South American stars talk about wanting to come to the US and play, they are, shock, shock, thinking about New York City, Los Angeles and yes, southern Florida…

    If you’re Manchester United or Newcastle, OK, you can get big names to come to the hinterlands—for Sunderland and Portsmouth it’s a helluva lot harder—but somehow MLS is supposed to become a player in world football with no South Beach as a destination, no Montreal, just one NYC team—to echo TK, how can a group of folks who follow the world’s game be so parochial?

  46. JSquaredNY says:

    I think that it’s a great idea. Maybe some US fans will see the support that the Canadian teams get and step it up.

  47. jerry says:

    Ok ives Goal.com already has updates on NYRB media day whats takin u so long buddy?

  48. paul Lorinczi says:

    Ives,

    You need to turn on the ability to post pictures because the thought of Atlanta and Miami makes me want to post a FAIL picture.

    Montreal would be a great addition. Their current team gets support and there is an obvious Soccer culture in the city.

    Miami and Atlanta? Too hot to watch a game and the play on the field suffers for it.

  49. Moneyball says:

    A few things that some comments have made me think about:

    1. Re: the discussion over lack of quality Canadian players. It’s a good point, but one that would probably be made moot. MLS changes rules pretty regularly, and I think that if it were to introduce a 2nd Canadian team, the Canadian domestic/international player rules would probably change. I think they were made the way they currently are because Toronto was the only team in the country, but if a Montreal or Vancouver came in, both Toronto and the new team could be given more slack – like, maybe a certain number of international player slots AND an allotment of 5 or so U.S. players that don’t count against it. So they’d still have to have a Canadian base, but wouldn’t be tied to having a majority of Canadian players.

    2. Many of you need to think more long term. TK pointed out that TV ratings will be huge in the future – this is true. When MLS’ current contract runs out, teams will probably be in a position to get more money for game broadcasts. Perhaps many teams will be able to sell their games on regional sports networks for a better return and the ESPN contract will probably bring more to the league. Considering that, Montreal’s large market looks a little bit more attractive. (All of this, of course, comes on top of the expected in-stadium support).

    Another point that struck me when reading some comments: while FIFA does have a 20-team per league rule, would that rule change if teams are in different countries? Most leagues seem to be contained within one geographical country, so if there are 2-3 teams in Canada, would the league then be allowed to field 22-23 teams?

  50. Haig says:

    Forget about Charleston, Brett. The surrounding area has only a bit more than 500,000. The city itself has less than 120,000. The Battery have a nice stadium, but draw less than 4,000 a game.

    There are dozens of more appropriate locations for MLS.

  51. Ryan says:

    the MLS should count a domestic player as any player from a country that has a MLS team. the fact that Toronto has different rules on domestic players is absurd.

  52. How would this help securing a larger American TV deal? Oh… it wouldn’t? Then it’s just an afterthought.

    Montreal will probably get a team, but not until other strategic locations are brought into the fold first.

    MLS has no plans to stop at 20 teams, or to go to pro/rel. Does no one else see what they’re planning to do?

    MLS will keep conferences and EVENTUALLY go to 32 teams. Why 32? 2 16 team conferences where the team plays a home and home with every other team (30 games) in the conference. And much like the old AL/NL only in Cup competitions shall the two meet.

  53. RK says:

    Brett, 500k IS the metropolitan area of Charleston. It is the 90th largest in the US — it isn’t big enough. While I’d love to see it happen because I’d rather live there than anywhere else in the US, it just can’t support it.

    Atlanta’s problem is that it is a transient population, as stated before. Even if a team came here to Atlanta, I couldn’t root for it as much as I would DC (where I’m a transplant from).

  54. Ryan, you think they never tried to do that!? Oh wait! Gazidis JUST said how they tried to do that for Toronto but they couldn’t get around governmental law.

  55. Josh says:

    What about moving a team to Montreal instead? Someone who has rediculous attendance, like I dont know, Chivas? Then you have a team that wins and plays a decent attacking style to help win over fans, and they are in market that has better potential than being the number 2 franchise in a city. I think that is better for the league.

  56. savannahfan says:

    If there has to be a new canadian team, the better choice is actually Vancouver. That way Seattle has a natural rival, and it solidifies MLS in the NW. That might lead to a Portland franchise in the distant future as well. Montreal is a promising option as well.

    But as someone that lives in the South, and close to Atlanta, I can tell you that trying to “force” a southern franchise just to even out the map is stupid. The better thing is to move into markets that tie in best with our current teams. Much like Philly will draw away fans from NYC and DC (and visa-versa).

    That being the case, it would be better to bring MLS to places that will help the most, not spread things out just for the sake of having teams in every corner of the US.

  57. brett says:

    Moibus- euopean and south american stars?? id much rather settle for quality players playing in front of sold out crowds….

    its not completely the location that draws players… its also the money and quality of play…. no star is going to come to the mls while the play is lack… for now, look for teams to go where the fans are… constantly developing the play, and then worry about bringing over stars O.o

  58. RK says:

    “The better thing is to move into markets that tie in best with our current teams. Much like Philly will draw away fans from NYC and DC (and visa-versa).”

    You want to broaden the appeal, not saturate it and prop it up as a regional league. Do you want teams in Baltimore, Atlantic City, and Providence next?

  59. brett says:

    Haig- had no idea the attendance was that small O.o

    RK- point taken about the battery, just pointing out that finding locations with already solid fan base would be ideal… and your point about ATL fans only strengthens my opinion of no team in ATL…

  60. Hierarchyfive says:

    PORTLAND!!!!!

  61. CD says:

    “Miami and Atlanta? Too hot to watch a game and the play on the field suffers for it.”

    Paul have you ever been to Houston in the summer?

  62. PCFC says:

    Absolutely a great idea…why in the world would we commit to markets that can barely support America’s pastime (Both the Marlins and the Braves could not sell out playoff games and they had years of success). We know Montreal and Vancouver are good soccer markets and provide good rivalries for TFC and Seattle (for Vancouver specifically). Americanizing hockey ruined the NHL and will ruin the MLS. Go to where the passion is. Most places can be found in the US but I don’t believe Atlanta should be ahead of Montreal or Vancouver. Miami has some potential.

  63. KJ says:

    Give St.Louis the 17th team in 2011 and Montreal the 18th team in 2012. And reward the 19th and 20th teams to Miami and New York in 2015. Then stop the expansion and work on USL 1st Division

  64. RK says:

    PCFC, if you want to bash Miami and Atlanta for lack of support for baseball, don’t bring Montreal up.

    Let’s face it, there are many cities with major positives and negatives, fighting for just a few future expansion teams.

  65. Zach D. says:

    I am going to have to pull for an Atlanta team because the south has no MLS team what so ever. Plus i think the draw would not come just from people in Atlanta you have to look in other surrounding areas of Atlanta, such as the rest of Georgia, southern Tennessee, and Alabama which all are having strong youth movements in the game. And I believe more people like me, in there early 20′s and live in southern TN would make the trip every chance they had.

  66. eric says:

    Actually, considering the lack of depth across the league, I’d consider less expansion a good thing until teams can show they can have a decent first XI plus some subs.

  67. NYYorker says:

    Montreal would be a great addition to MLS, they have the fan support, owners, and natural rivalry with Toronto. Like Vancouver should also be added to provide a rivalry with Seattle. Even though enthusiasm is there in Canada, Canadian soccer is not as well developed yet than american soccer. Toronto FC learned the hard way that a team of a number of ex-USL players is not sufficient for a winning MLS team. There are problems with finding good American talent in MLS, too but MLS has had a headstart over Canada. So, another MLS team in Canada will happen but it is a few years away. Also, I think with the tradition Montreal Impact has as a team it would be foolish and suicidal to change the team to anything else, with the fan support Montreal has the reaction against hand-picked names by MLS will be even worse than it is in Seattle. Impact is a creative, unique name than anything MLS has right now and it should be left that way.

  68. McD says:

    #17 will go to the city that produces a stadium and wealthy ownership group first. If MLS put a team in Salt Lake City, it clearly doesn’t care about the quality of the marketplace.

    #18 will go to David Beckham and Simon Fuller, and it will be their choice of market. Let’s be clear, Beckham/Fuller’s option is to purchase a MLS (expansion) club, not the Galaxy.

    It’s extraordinarily doubtful that MLS goes beyond 18 clubs before 2020. They have a number of clubs that are struggling, and more relocations will be on the way after the successful migration of San Jose-Houston.

  69. Adam says:

    Ives,

    AC at Sideline Views is reporting a sighting of JOB! Apparently he’s leading a team in a beach soccer tournament.

    link to beachsoccerusa.org

  70. bill says:

    I’d personally love it – I live in Albany and it’s ‘about the same’ distance from here to New Jersey or Montreal and ..well, I’ll put it this way, I love Montreal!

  71. FootballMacca says:

    Great discussion as always, I’d have to agree with McD its down to money, Seattle gets a team with no soccer specific stadium, Philadelphia jump ahead of St Louis due to money.

    If Montreal have a good financial package they will jump ahead of St Louis. St Louis will become number #18 and then I think you have to stop the expansion of the league for a minimum of 5 years.

    In saying that if St Louis don’t get their financing in line the could miss out in the league of 18.

    Miami, Atlanta, NYC2 just don’t make sense to me.

  72. lakaix15 says:

    im down for montreal 2009 it only makes the league beeter…. but 2010 looks more likly

  73. sidenetting says:

    Doesn’t Toronto have rights to be an exclusive Canadian team for a certain period of years? Five perhaps?

  74. JesseMT says:

    I love the idea of Montreal for all the reasons stated above, but if St. Louis doesn’t get in before anybody else something is just not right. Having lived in Seattle I guess I’m sensitive to being told we were getting a team for years and years with no results.

    Team name idea for Montreal’s MLS side: Olympique de Montreal.

  75. Weaver83 says:

    Atlanta would be nice to have for the fans in the south. but what about nashville? i was at the u23 semis last week, and there was a pretty good turnout for a thursday game. the attendance was MUCH better than in tampa for the group games. i’d be all over an atl team just because it would be the closest team, but nashville would be great as well

  76. Spencer says:

    Alright first off about expansion. Raise the salary cap, it is a must for the league to succeed. That will increase the level of play because we can keep our good players and also import great players in.

    Start weeding out the weak franchises. Chivas, Kansas and Colombus sorr your out. If you can’t average over 14k a game on Saturday and Sundays please leave. I understand low attendance on week days there’s a reason why most sports try to avoid week days.

    We will have to have over 20 teams, we are the biggest soccer country population wise. The teams I’d like to see get a team. San Antonio a 3rd Texas team would support a team very strong they are dying for another team to support there. Phoenix, Portland, Miami, Atlanta, Montreal, St. Louis, Baltimore and maybe even San Diego. Of course there isn’t an order to my selection, other than i’d like to see San Antonio get one sooner than later.

  77. Johnny says:

    It says that Gillett and Saputo are committed to spending the 12 million dollars to expand the stadium to 20,000. Seems a no-brainer to me. The Saputo family is worth 8 billion and Gillett is no slouch either. This will be hard for Garber to say no to.

  78. White Kix says:

    MLS needs to take care of their US fans before anything else goes to Canada. It’s great that toronto has worked out, but MLS should focus on the US. I grew up in Seattle, and was without an MLS team, then I moved to Boston, and was stuck with the team I hate most in the league. I then left the hell hole called Boston and live in Tampa, a few years after the Mutiny folded. For everyone who says that rivalries are more improtant than a national footprint, you are all spoiled. I have not had a home town team to call my own for 13 seasons. The closest teams to me ar DC, KC & Houston. It is ludicris that there is no team in the Southeast and it is ludicris that it took so long to put a team on the Northwest. And for everyone who says that Miami shouldn’t have a team, the USL Miami side was ablt to bring in Romario fresh off leading the brasilian league in scoring. I’m sure there would be plenty of stars that would love to play in Miami (since NY wastes their DP spots on reyna). As far as the heat, I would rather play in Miami in August than New England in November (and I’ve only been in Florida 2 years). Also, the Las Vegas bid had major money behind it, and MLS has accepted that offer. I would much rather take a trip to Vegas to see a game than montreal. But I guess we could just give another one of our precious few spots to Canada, then we can grant US citizenship to all of the illegal imigrants and ship all of our jobs off to india. That sounds like a wonderful plan, doesn’t it.

  79. Vascao says:

    >

    According to this tidbit from the article, the team would be called Montreal FC…ugh

    That would bring the MLS FC tally to 4. Unless, that is, Alliance pulls off the upset in Seattle :-)

    Allez Olympique Montréalais!

  80. White Kix says:

    MLS HASN’T accepted the Vegas offer. sorry about the typo.

  81. Vascao says:

    link to rds.ca

    Another link in french: Saputo confirms talks; team would begin play in 09; Montreal FC; Saputo/Gillet have TFC’s full backing (mention 09 CAN exclusivity clause); team would need to average 17k to be profitable (?)

  82. Adam says:

    ST. LOUIS IS NEXT!

  83. TK says:

    I don’t have time to read that article.

    17K to be profitable.

    Interesting.

    As I stated earlier.

    Montreal is non profit, tix cost almost nothing, youth players go for free and tons of comps.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if that 12,500 average crowd was only 6,7 or 8 paying, and at low, low prices at that – 5-10 bucks.

    This is why MLS wants deep pockets and TV markets first. No guarantee fans will come out in droves at much higher prices.

    There is more safety and money in a bigger TV market that can get more $$$ for the next deal – around 2014.

    No shoe in here. Learn about the team fist folks…and the city.

  84. TK says:

    I don’t have time to read that article.

    17K to be profitable.

    Interesting.

    As I stated earlier.

    Montreal is non profit, tix cost almost nothing, youth players go for free and tons of comps.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if that 12,500 average crowd was only 6,7 or 8 paying, and at low, low prices at that – 5-10 bucks.

    This is why MLS wants deep pockets and TV markets first. No guarantee fans will come out in droves at much higher prices.

    There is more safety and money in a bigger TV market that can get more $$$ for the next deal – around 2014.

    No shoe in here. Learn about the team fist folks…and the city.

  85. Don says:

    MLS should build on proven strength of soccer support. Portland and Vancouver.

  86. brett says:

    TK- i cant see Montreal still being that cheap as a MLS team… i wouldnt be surprised if the prices match TFC’s…. b/c once they are in the MLS they wont be a “non-profit” anymore… ive yet to see someone invest money into something they dont expect to see anything in return (as far as businesses go)

  87. Fidel says:

    Miami doesnt deserve to get team, If MLS smartened up they would put a team in Habana. My glorious people would have a sellout stadium each game. My only stipulation I gave to Garber was that all the games must be home, because if we ever went on a road trip we wouldnt have any players left to field.

  88. John says:

    TK,

    Considering Toronto drew about 500 people to Lynx games at similarly cheap prices before TFC came along, I’d say your argument doesn’t hold much weight whatsoever.

  89. Garrett says:

    US will eventually get to 24 Franchises and should force them to go 12 1st Division and 12 2nd Division with relegation!

    Once this is acheived, expansion teams can come into the 2nd division (2 at a time) and allow another to bump up. 14-14, 15-15, 16-16 etc… until 20-20.

    Thus enabling the league to eventually hit 40.

  90. Lawrence Brophy says:

    Ives, have you any idea what John O’Brien is up to these days?

    Also, what do you think about the idea of promotion/relegation between MLS and USL?

    Please answer these very important topics immediately.

    Lawrence Brophy, Secaucus.

  91. Reid says:

    Ives — would it be a nice change of pace for you if Benny did end up staying with Derby for next year.

    I know myself for one, would be forced to ask you how he is doing, any word on him, etc… Its a possibility at that point he might take over for Jon O’Brien.

    If he stays at Derby he could do a reality show with JOB “Remember Us”

  92. Enzo says:

    Tk,

    Saputo was part of a group of owners in the old APSL that applied for Division 1 status to the USSF (circa 1992/1993) pre-World Cup 1994. At the time Saputo was a newish owner and of course the APSL bid eventually failed to the group headed by Alan Rothenberg – MLS. As far as I can tell Saputo is the last of the APSL owners still active in professional soccer. Think of it this way he had the opportunity to buy an MLS franchise $5million and then again @ $10 million. There was no way Saputo was going to buy in at $30 million and spend money on a stadium. Gillett though knows a bargain and with Saputo one of the large corporate sponsors of the Canadiens of the NHL – its a match made in heaven.

  93. WonsanUnited says:

    “what has Montreal done to deserve a team? Their support of the Canadiens, and their 26 Stanley Cup titles, or the it the 40,000 empty seats at Expos games?”

    The Olympic Stadium was a disaster. Too far way from the Montreal City Center, the Expos were a terrible team, why would you want to go? Minaya boosted attendences to about 20K before they folded, and that’s when they still sucked!

    I favor Portland after Montreal and St. Louis.

  94. I’m from the Atlanta area (I went to the University of Georgia), so I can give you the following pros and cons of an Atlanta team:

    Cons:

    1) Atlanta Fans show average interest in the Falcons, Hawks, and Thrashers

    2) Atlanta Fans show above-average interest in the Braves, their only true winning team

    3) Atlanta Fans like Air Conditioning and all MLS stadiums are outdoor.

    Pros:

    1) Georgia has seen some of the highest numbers of Hispanic immigrants on the East Coast, which could assist in building a fan base.

    2) Fans are in love with the Georgia Bulldogs football program, so they do love sports…they are just finicky

    3) The use of Sanford Stadium (in Athens) for Olympic Soccer was a huge success in 1996. The stadium sold out, the fan frenzy was huge,

    4) If you stick the stadium between Atlanta and Athens, GA (such as Gwinnett County along the Atlanta Highway) you will be able to capture the larger parts of the Atlanta area population growth, which has been largely Northbound and closer to the UGA sports fan base.

  95. REDNWHITE says:

    Like it was said further up in the thread, GO TO WHERE THE PASSION IS!! Montreal has the MONEY, Montreal has the FANS, Montreal has the Stadium, Montreal has the hatred toward Toronto, Montreal has the sexy french-canadian women, Montreal has it ALL! Give them a franchise before anyone else, and watch the MLS fill its coffers with some much needed money and stability!! Sorry KC, Chivas, Columbus gotta go! Yeah baby here comes a strong and stable MONTREAL!!!

  96. Chris says:

    They need to change their name if they come in. Olympique would be best.

    They already have a better stadium situation right now then Kansas City or San Jose will have for a couple years. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be in the league. They are more ready then some current MLS teams.

  97. Richard says:

    17 – St Louis

    18 – Portland

    19 – Montreal

    20 – Vancouver/Atlanta

    then comes mls-2

    NO BIGGER THAN 20 PLEASE!

    (but i’ll live with 22…not with 24 though)

  98. alex says:

    Ok it’s NPO, but how many other teams are charging the same price for tickets and still can’t fill the stadium and don’t have any community support behind the team?

    Besides, if you simply used the USL as a barometer for MLS support, Toronto would of had like 5k attendance first year. So this is really just an added bonus. Montreal has the infrastrucuture, capital, and a stadium actually in the city they claim to represent (shocking).

    It’s a good setup, but the process is starting to get more competitive. So we’ll have to see what places like Miami and St. Louis can bring to the table.

  99. John says:

    Saputo was in Toronto today for the unveiling of the Canada Cup tournament and he stated that they’re ready to go for 2009 if they can get the green light. Makes sense. they’ve got the money and the organizational infrastructure. All it takes is adding 7000 seats to a stadium that already exists and that would not take long.

  100. tommymcb says:

    Just for the record, Kansas City isn’t going anywhere. On the same day that the Mitchell Report came out, KC announced a Billion dollar deal. It includes a stadium, practice fields, a hotel, office space, and retail.

  101. aristotle says:

    I don’t understand all of these people talking about endless expansion.

    I’m having a real hard time understanding how the league can absorb all of the expansion that’s already in place. There simply is NOT enough talent to spread so thin.

    We should stop expansion for a while. If they want to move a team, fine, but no more expansion. Also, whatever happened to the statement made by MLS that indicated no more expansion after 16 teams?

    This crazy rate of expansion is exactly what happened right before the NASL folded.

    If there is simply too much demand and there has to be expansion, like someone suggested here, (sorry I can’t remember their name) we should start a second division. The quality will be on that level anyway with so many teams. The question is, would that really be much different than the USL?

    I say we stop and consolidate the league right where we are now. People have to be patient. The league’s survival is the most important thing right now. I also think we need to stop allowing sub par playing facilities. No more artificial turf! This is completely selling out. I don’t care how pretty a stadium is if the playing surface is going to be artificial surface. I would also like to see the league work toward ending football lines on the field.

  102. TK says:

    The KC deal is not final yet. Close, but not final.

    Still need state approval and there are agitators litigating and holding it up.

  103. TK says:

    Enzo, I said it looks promising, but there are no guarantees. TFC was supposed to get zero fans because of poor USL attendance.

    You can’t guarantee the same support for Montreal with full tix prices, less comps, etc, etc.

    I am neither for or against anyone. I just wanted to point out some of the issues, as it is clear many do not have the slightest clue about them.

  104. TK says:

    John. Only when the teams actually play, with full prices and for a few seasons, will we see what actually holds water. That is the point.

    The Montreal Manic drew like gangabusters, then after some issues they drew nothing.

    Montreals current fanbase may not be the same fanbase, or as consistently loyal if they get an MLS team. That’s all. In th eworld of big business these things have to be taken into account. Stuff I do everyday. Same for TV contracts.

    A good TV contratc beats a solid franchise.

    Sounds nuts, but in MLS’s state it is reality. Both would be great, but if you can get 10 mill more a year on the next contract becuase you have a team in a big TV market/region that you didn’t have before, guess hwo you choose.

    I’m not trying to be a smart guy here, but I do this for a living. Bigger deals than MLS.

    There is emotion and reality. Reality always wins with big business. Esepecially one still strivning for profitability. You either understand the dynamics or you don’t. The way it is.

  105. CD says:

    The Canadian rivalries begin this summer. May 27th Montreal and Toronto go at it to start the CONCACAF qualifying for the Champions League:

    CSA Club Qualifying Tournament Schedule

    27 May: Impact de Montreal vs. Toronto FC at MontrĂ©al’s Stade Saputo

    17 June: Impact de Montreal vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Stade Saputo

    25 June: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Impact de Montreal at Vancouver’s Swangard Stadium

    1 July: Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Toronto’s BMO Field

    9 July: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC at Swangard Stadium

    22 July: Toronto FC vs. Impact de Montreal at BMO Field

  106. Mark says:

    personally, i think there are too many quality US cities in play to award another canadian city.

    one of the founding tenets of MLS is the furthering of US soccer, not canadian soccer.

    i hear all the excuses in the world from the canadians why they can’t, but if they want canadian sides so bad, and canada is such a vibrant soccer nation, they should start their own league.

    i can’t see the league moving past 20 teams within a decade, and possibly ever. do we really want 10-15% of our league in canada?

  107. SP says:

    I wonder how many ppl would show up to Montreal if they actually had to pay? Unlike say how they “pack” them in for a USL match. FREE!