Montreal Impact topples Santos Laguna in front of record crowd

Eduardo Sebrango (AP) 

On a night where a record crowd came out to support soccer in Montreal, the USL-1 Montreal Impact sent the more then 55,000 fans in attendance for their CONCACAF Champions League match vs. Santos Laguna happy.

Forward Eduardo Sebrango scored two goals to help lead the Impact to a 2-0 first-leg victory over Santos Laguna in their Champions League quarterfinal opener at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

The crowd in attendance, 55,571 to be exact, set a new mark for an Impact match, as well as a record for most fans to ever attend a CONCACAF Champions League match.

Here are some highlights from the match

What did you think of the performance? What impressed you more, the way Montreal played or the turnout for the match? Think MLS needs to reconsider and ask Montreal back to the MLS expansion table?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Canadian Soccer, CONCACAF, Mexican Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

113 Responses to Montreal Impact topples Santos Laguna in front of record crowd

  1. Rastafari says:

    I love the sight of the goalkeeper falling over after realizing the ball was in the net

  2. John Bladen says:

    It was a great result for the Impact, and wonderful to see the stadium close to capacity. I was most impressed w Montreal’s back line. They shut down Santos’ attack pretty well.

    As for MLS? Well, the Impact have signed a couple of guys who turned MLS down over the winter (I bet they are making more money in Mtl too). I don’t think MLS “needs” to invite Montreal back in… but I still think that Garber may find himself without many takers at $40M… that’s a lot of money to pay for entry and a lot of debt to service in this lending environment. I’m also not sold that Mr. Saputo really wants to be in the “MLS structure” now… he’s doing pretty well in USL.

    Does anyone think MLS will lower the price of admission (the rate at which candidates are dropping suggests that maybe they should)?

  3. einar says:

    the game was great to watch and am now rooting for puerto rico islanders to make an upset somehow in honduras

  4. marksonm says:

    lol, oswaldo sanchez.

  5. Tim F. says:

    Why would MLS lower the asking rate? Portland, Ottawa, Vancouver, Miami and even St Louis, despite not having a deep pockets owner, will pay the $40m. Seattle paid what, 30m? Why drop the price if people are ready to pay. There are owners who have been carrying the league since the beginning who want to get back some of the money theyve lost over the past decade, and rightfully so.

  6. luda says:

    Wow. I am shocked to hear the turnout (although I suppose I should not be surprised since Canada has shown to be supportive of soccer). I am certainly more impressed with the turnout, but thats not a reflectance of the quality of the soccer that was played.

    as far as lowering the franchise price… I don’t think it is necessary to lower it when there are strong cities *still* lining up for a franchise. I always felt Portland and STL were the better cities for expansion and as far as I know they are not wavering in their commitment to paying the franchise price and get an SSS.

  7. JesseMT says:

    Montreal needs to be in the league right now. All of the other expansion bids include some bit of risk. Portland and Ottawa are smaller markets. St. Louis has the concerns about the ownership group’s financial stability. Miami has the concerns about attendance.

    Montreal is a sure thing. Get them in for 2010 and give them the same deal Seattle got for bringing up some of the USL guys. If it takes lowering the price to $40mil Canadian instead of $40mil US, it’s worth it.

  8. AlexS says:

    You know, I watched that game and at no point did I go “Montreal looks like a great side”. Santos kept a bulk of the control over the match and had more than a few good chances (good job at keeper). Montreal had some real good play, especialy in the buildup to the first goal, but spent most of the match a step behind Santos. That second goal was more about Oswaldo Sanchez’s inability to control his 18-yard box (and the forward’s hustle) than any kind of subtle exploitation by the Impact.

    And yet people take this result as proof that USL is higher quality than MLS. Yes, they got a good result. Great for them. A few good counters while defending the whole match doesn’t make you a better side than all of MLS.

  9. Androo says:

    You’ll get the same thing out of Vancouver fans if the Whitecaps make it that far. I’m unsure about the support in Ottawa but I know for a fact that Montreal and Vancouver can easily support an MLS team with the same passion that Toronto does.

  10. undrafted says:

    I think the problem was that the $40 million Canadian offer included upgrading the stadium. Is there a firm source on what dollar value Saputo was offering to MLS coffers? I’m not so sure they are willing to hand MLS 40 million Canadian. That figure (reported as 43 mill Canadian) included stadium upgrades. I’ve seen 15 million thrown around as an estimate of that cost. 28m Canadaian is about $22m.

    I’m not sure MLS will set the precedent of a franchise selling for $22m. Not when they can get $40m. Long-term who is going to be in Montreal’s league?

  11. Steve B says:

    I find myself, a huge mls supporter, rooting strongly for montreal and puerto rico (and houston of course). And the fact that Oswaldo “Dirty” Sanchez was the goalie makes it ten times better.

    If a USL team can get 50,000 in attendance, it seems like MLS teams should be able to average better than 10,000. Soccer is not much more popular there than many places in the US. What did they do that we don’t, and how can we improve? Thoughts?

  12. Tom P says:

    they played great qnd really eesponded to the crowd.

  13. DC Josh says:

    do they have their own stadium? looked like it might have been turf, not grass. But the video quality was so horrible. Glad, and shocked, to see that many people at a CONCACAF champions league game.

  14. Brant says:

    I watched most of the 2d half. Santos looked a bit fatigued and disinterested, but all credit to Montreal for caring enough to out-hustle the Mexicans and show that they wanted to win the game.

    Even so, Montreal really only looked like they were a quality center-back and a holding midfielder from really cleaning Santos’ clock.

    As to the attendance? Very cool. Can someone in Montreal clue us in – does the Impact normally play in Olympic Stadium? Could they draw 40k/game if they wanted to?

    I’m really looking forward to Montreal’s game in Raleigh this year.

  15. Neil says:

    Montreal plays at Stade Saputo an 13,000 outdoor stadium next door to the ‘Big O’. The ‘Big O’ is an awful stadium left over from the 76 olympics. Where the Expos used to play. They were forced indoors due to the snow in Montreal. Worked out well but isn’t a long term option. They don’t fill their 13000 seat stadiumm for all USL or even the Voyageurs Cup games between Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal (winner moved on into the Champions League tourney).

  16. elmatador says:

    Ives, my question is does Montreal represent canada or USL from the United States, “IF” they went to MLS which country would they represent? evermore if they went to the clubs world cup? I do think that Montreal deserves to be consider for MLS team. The keep fillin up their stadiums, even in the most meaningless games like vs. the “becks” show with the galaxy..

  17. mike from linden says:

    did you say 55,000 plus? holy s***! that was nearly a capacity night for a champions league game!

  18. Bob says:

    If not the team then Matt Jordan, Sandro Grande, Nevio Pizzilitto, eduardo Sebrango, and Joey Gerstan should be on every MLS teams most wanted listed.

  19. Dominick says:

    Soccer on this continent is a sport that is building, the Champions league is a new tournament–last night showed, with time, what this sport can look like.

    As for the MLS fee, etc. Honestly not sure.

  20. BK says:

    “Highlights” is a relative term. I thought both teams were shocking…well below even MLS standards. If that is what we can expect from our Champions League, God help us all.

  21. Drew-ROC says:

    Matt Jordan, Sandro Grande, Pizzilitto, Sebrango and Gjertson are all pro-soccer vets that WOULD fit perfectly into MLS’ middle class, but they probably make more money playing for Montreal. Especially this year with the CCL games.

  22. art says:

    Don’t really mean to be a spoil sport, I’m happy for Montreal, but didn’t anyone else think there was a foul by Montreal on the second goal?

    No matter in the end, 1-0 works too.

  23. Doug Heffernan says:

    elmatador,

    Montreal represents canada… if they went to MLS, they would represent canada as well (Toronto does) via the Canadian Championship (TFC, Montreal, Vancouver)… if they competed in the club world cup, they would be representing CONCACAf, not an individual country

  24. Steve C says:

    DC Josh – The Olympic Stadium is city owned. Its where the Montreal Expos played when they were in existence.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  25. northzax says:

    Montreal represents Canada, they won the three team playoff with the Whitecaps and TFC.

    anyone know what the average ticket price was for this match? 50k is very impressive, but this wasn’t at MLS price levels, I am sure. Montreal was invited to bid on an MLS franchise and turned down the opportunity. I think this will turn out to be a long term mistake for soccer in the city, ten years from now I believe the gap between MLS and USL will be even larger, as the other successful USL franchises in large cities become MLS franchises. MLS has already taken the Sounders, within six years is likely to take the Whitecaps, Timbers, Fury and Miami off the table. who is Montreal going to be competing with? Rochester? Minnesota? Charleston? Richmond? all fine places, but hardly in the calibre of Montreal.

    Also, for those saying the entry fee should be waived or lowered, that can’t and won’t happen. MLS, like all professional sport ownership, is a Ponzi scheme, albeit one run by, for and with complete knowledge, of billionaires. the only value in owning a franchise is that the value increases over time, you certainly don’t make any money from operations, or at least not nearly enough to justify the capital outlays. if, all of a sudden, an expansion team is only worth $20m, then Seattle literally threw money away, and everyone is worth less today on paper than they were yesterday. not a good model.

  26. Chris says:

    BK

    That’s funny, MLS standards are to flunk out early in this tournament!

  27. brett says:

    great to see a USL team succeeding… i am not a fan of any team in particular, but im all for success in this sport whether it be USL or MLS….

    hopefully all 3 sides MLS/USL sides move on…

  28. East River says:

    AlexS, you sound like pure sour grapes. Montreal is a prototypical North American squad. Nothing pretty but they get the job done. Very similar in approach to counterattaching similar to old DC United squards and USMNT teams from just a few years ago.

    But in a tourney where 3 MLS teams wash out two in qualifying and 1 in the group. Montreal and PR have both solidered through. Despite the travel miles, despite geting all the way to the semi-finals of their own playoffs. Then they go and beat a Mexican team 2-0 while not having played a competitive match since Oct.28th and still having a month plus left in their preseason. If you really REALLY think that they are not better then MLS teams, then MLS teams should PROVE IT and win in these games!

  29. I am a TFC fan 24/7 and it is with gritted teeth that I would defend anything MTL, but foul on the second goal ?? What defender on earth worth a darn would not shield the ball and prevent a 35 year old striker from out jumping his keeper for the ball?? That was not a foul, that was inept defending and lost at sea goal keeping and a striker who took advantage of both…

  30. bgnewf says:

    To East River:

    Saying that USL sides are “better” than MLS sides due to the results for Montreal and Puerto Rico is like saying that Burnley in the Championship in England is a better side then Chelsea and Liverpool, whom they beat in the FA Cup last season.

    For the record. TFC did not lose to Montreal in the Canadian Championships last season. Yes we lost to Vancouver but we beat Montreal on their own ground and drew them at home.

    Anybody can beat anybody else on any given day, but that does not in of itself speak to the overall quality of a team or of a particular league.

  31. RK says:

    BK, thanks. I watched the game, too, and it wasn’t pretty. Congrats to MTL, though.

  32. Ko'd says:

    Love watching Oswaldo Sanchez get beat. One of my favorite things, ever.

  33. tilt215 says:

    I saw a montreal game last year while I was up in Canada. hey have a great fan base and I hope they use this game to build an even bigger one.

  34. Will says:

    There defence has been great all along, including in their recent warm up trip to Italy where they did not lose any games they played against series B and C teams. Hopefully they will maintain their cool in Mexico.

  35. Felix says:

    I wasn’t impressed with Montreal’s play. I found their passing to be terribly sloppy and they gave away possession alot. However, they play with discipline, physicality, and industry and with that alone can create chances which they converted.
    Santos Laguna just didn’t seem into the game. Perhaps they took Montreal lightly cause they are a USL-1 team, or it was the fixture congestion, the travel load, playing on artificial turf, or perhaps all of it. But they find themselves in a hole. They have the quality to overcome the 2 goal defecit, plus they will be in their home stadium, where Mexican clubs are traditionally much stronger. But if Montreal just doesn’t play extremely negative for 90 minutes and opens up whenever Santos Laguna makes a mistake, they should be able to advance to the semi-finals.

  36. M says:

    Ives, stop with the Canada loving again. Nobody cares about Montreal

  37. jmac says:

    Montreal should absolutely be in MLS.

  38. Chase says:

    I’m jealous. I would give anything for an MLS team in the US to have that kind of support on a CONCACAF CL night…

    And foul on the 2nd goal?! What are you talking about?

  39. East River says:

    bgnewf, I didn’t actually say Montreal is better then MLS but they have clearly outplayed MLS teams in this competition. If you really think MLS teams are playing at a higher level then USL-1, MLS teams need to prove it. They don’t have to beat TFC in direct competition they got through and thats all that matters. If TFC had built a better team that could kick a ball across a goal line they would have gotten into the Champions League.

    Your comparison to the FA Cup is miss leading. This is not a 2nd tier competition the way the FA Cup. Santos played it best players last night and flat out lost. You are right to say that in any given game a team could win. But it begs the question why have MLS teams failed to win in qualifying round, the group stage, and this week? While USL-1 two teams have repeatly gotten through in the same competition.

  40. BlueWhiteLion says:

    How many of those in attendance were Hispanic? :)

    What a great atmosphere and result for Montreal. Those kind of games are fun, even if the home side is not the quality of the team they beat. No away goals, AWESOME! Now, pack it in on the return leg!

    Don’t lower the price.

  41. KCB says:

    It’s not that Montreal is that good, it’s the fact that “Dirty” Sanchez is in goal for Santos, he Loves to loss 2-0 :-)

    But in all seriousness, if PR Islanders have a good showing tonight, I have to seriously question MLS and Houston’s performance in this tournament. I don’t care if it’s the pre-season, Houston should have been Atlante by at least 2 goals the other night. It’s embarrassing for MLS to not pull out good results at home. And you know MLS clubs struggle on the road. Guess we’ll see what happens next week.

  42. RK says:

    Last night was not a referendum on MLS in Montreal.

    MLS isn’t interested in specific cities, but deep-pocketed ownership groups.

  43. PCFC says:

    People are missing the two biggest points about the attendance.

    1) It was on a Wednesday Night!
    2) It was 95% Impact supporters!

    The obvious correlation is there:
    Strong USL markets are strong MLS markets (Seattle will prove that this year).

  44. hendrix says:

    Montreal should be in MLS only if they pay the proper fee and expand their stadium properly.

    The fee they were willing to play included stadium expansion, so they were being very cheap. I believe the actual fee portion of the payment would have been less than what Seattle or Philly paid.

    The stadium expansion plans would have made the stadium the worst of the new ones in MLS, even worse than BMO Field, which is not exactly stellar.

    How can MLS invite a financial partner whose stadium after being expanded wouldn’t even meet the minimum requirements for concessions/washrooms/private boxes/club seats etc.?

    MLS doesn’t need to beg Montreal in, since Vancouver would be a very good replacement on the Canadian side… and one of the American applicants will be very good too.

  45. Branden says:

    The Impact kept ticket prices down a bit, so that they could draw out the fans. See seating chart, taken from Out Of Touch:

    link to 4.bp.blogspot.com

    The difference between Montreal and MLS is that Montreal is taking this competition seriously. They are playing first string guys all the way through, and the fans are buying into it. Hell I’m thinking of making a 6 hour commute to go to the semis if they can hold off Santos in Mexico, and I’m a TFC fan.

    There was a pretty good breakdown of that MLS attitude here:

    link to 24thminute.blogspot.com

    There has even been some talk lately of moving the TFC/Montreal qualifier to the Big O!

  46. kawa says:

    I smell Expansion

  47. nate says:

    Props to Montreal from Chicago.

    The MLS felletio going on in this thread is comical. TWO…count them…TWO USL sides are through to the quarterfinals…the only 2 that qualified for that matter. FOUR…count them…FOUR MLS sides entered and three went out in embarrasing fashion with the fourth to follow next week. Not simple eliminations, but five alarm FLAME OUTS.

    As for the expansion fee…yeah, let’s refuse to drop the fee 10 – 20% in one of the most turbulent economic climates in history. Even if St. Louis, Portland are willing to pay the $40 million (they ain’t) why deny a market that will pack their stadium every night? Isn’t that the crown jewel of the excitement in Toronto and Seattle? Portland and/or St. Louis would not have drawn 15k last night, let alone 50k.

    Montreal took the typical MLS favorite “oh, it was a midweek game in the preseason” excuse and gave it a big middle finger.

  48. Nicolas FROM MONTREAL says:

    FOR THOSE WHO ARE ASKING WHERE THE MONTREAL IMPACT PLAY!!!! Well they play in the brand new saputo Stadium, they don’t usually play in the olympic stadium! They played there last night because there’s snow outside!!!!

  49. A.S. says:

    How the f*** did they get 50,000+ fans to go to the game? Red Bulls couldn’t get 50,000 fans for a CCL match if they gave the tickets away. I don’t get it.

  50. Eric in Baltimore says:

    Oswaldo Sanchez + Northern Climate = 2:0

  51. madmax says:

    Mexican teams are good but highly over rated.

  52. yankiboy says:

    What Montreal accomplished was freaking fantastic. They showed their class, their talent. The fact that they managed to get that many fans out (discounted tickets or not)–the whole organization should be proud.

    You guys reprezented the USL well again.

    You reprezente Canadian soccer very well.

    Your fame is growing and deservedly so.

    Well done!!!

    If my Puerto Rico Islanders can play half as well tonight then we will have a good chance to get three points, also.

  53. Miguel says:

    A well supported USL side with a built in rival in Toronto FC. I believe Montreal would be a better fit for MLS than, say St Louis or Miami. Look at what KC draws for their games. Would St Louis be any different. Look at what happened with the Miami Fusion. People there are more interested in getting to the beach than getting to the game, especially in the summer.

  54. yankiboy says:

    Ives, to answer your question: No discounts for Saputo and his group.

    Uncle Joey wanted a discount and no discounts are given. It’s business, not personal. You set a price and you stick to the price as long as the market will bare it. It wouldn’t be fair for Saputo and his group to get a deal just because the Impact are a great club and already have a lot of things in place. Or because Montreal is one of the most enchanting cities in all of North America (which includes Mexico, my friends). It’s simple supply and demand.

    Uncle Joey did have his chance. He blew it. MLS didn’t change the price on him or his group. The value of the looney changed. The price was always clear and always firm.

    Right about now, does Montreal really need MLS? Seriously…They look like they are doing just fine where they are.

    When they pony up more money they will get in if the price is there is still a spot for them.

  55. Tim K says:

    Dominick above said it best, “Soccer on this continent is a sport that is building, the Champions league is a new tournament–last night showed, with time, what this sport can look like.”

    This was very awesome to see, more so the crowd than the play. I see this as a statement! Montreal takesaway there bid, and Impact fans come in the thousands on a WEEKDAY, lets not forget this, its a weekday, for a young tournament with no hype! I mean this is incredible!!

    As for expansion, I hope Garber truly sees the importance of atmosphere in the MLS. Fans is what makes money and creates a sport. The last thing we need is to bring in another KC, FC Dallas, or a Colorado. Montreal needs to at least be considered again, dot those eyes and cross those tees! It could be a great thing!

  56. green says:

    “. . . everyone is worth less today on paper than they were yesterday. not a good model.”

    You’re right. Everyone IS worth less on paper than they were yesterday! How’s that 401k and mutual fund working out right now.

  57. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Northern Climate my ass…they were inside….

    Also for all you MLS apologists…USL in several cities has just as good of an atmosphere as MLS….also….YOU DO NOT WANT 50K SEAT STADIUMS….you want 18-30K and right on top of the field…there is a reason Toronto games are exciting…. the players feed off the crowd’s energy….

    Also…sports franchises do turn profits if managed the correct way….the money comes from TV revenue, merchandising, gate receipts and lucrative eqipment and team sponsorships….

    The ones like Manure, Chelsea etc… are constantly spending 100s of millions of dollars on players because they feel that having the best players raises their visabiity up globally and thus makes their stake worth more as you said…not all franchises work like that…

    LA Galaxy has turned profits even before Becks came…

  58. Don says:

    When the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps join the Seattle Sounders in the MLS, I’m certain the passion and rivalry will be unmatched by anything in the league. Yes ownership financial ability and stadium conditions are important considerations, but in the end the determinant of franchise success comes down to the team supporters. Go Timber Army!

  59. nate says:

    You know the same dellusional people on this board who want $40 million or nothing will be calling MLS bush league when St. Louis is drawing 7,000 on a Wednesday night.

  60. Martin says:

    Eric, it was indoors and 65 degrees

  61. brett says:

    wasnt there rumors of Montreal simply paying 40M Canadian and then paying the rest over the next couple years on partial ticket sales??

    i dont recall where i read it or if it were simply a poster making a suggestion, but i would think that would work for both side… MLS get their expansion fee and Montreal get their team without the large up front sum…

  62. brett says:

    andy in atl- if you have the fan base to fill a 50k stadium then i see no reason to not have a 50k stadium…. however, MLS teams’ fan bases are not that strong yet nor large enough…. so i agree…. hitting the margin of 20-30k stadiums is more then sufficient for now….

  63. yankiboy says:

    Andy, I gotta comment on something that you posted, Bro:

    “USL in several cities has just as good of an atmosphere as MLS…”

    What cities are those other than Portland? Charleston? And maybe Vancouver? Rochester used to. Puerto Rico does during playoff time. Look at what ATL had in it’s Silverback fans. Great fans, good supporters group.

    But KC and Colorado and some of the other often maligned clubs have some great hardcore fans.

    I do agree that pretty every USL1 and USL2 clubs have some diehard fantastic fans but that is not the same as atmosphere. But those because the numbers are a lot smaller so I wouldn’t call it the same.

    All I’m saying is that atmosphere is relative. Red Bull can play in Giant Stadium and ESC and the other supporters, even in that cavern–just like their arch enemies down here in DC can still bring atmosphere.

    “Also…sports franchises do turn profits if managed the correct way….the money comes from TV revenue, merchandising, gate receipts and lucrative eqipment and team sponsorships”

    Yes, management is important but even when you do everything “right”, many clubs still lose ca$h. Obviously, I would prefer to see a club maximize the likelyhood that it will succeed by trying to maximize the things that you mentioned. Those a key elements. But the economics are just not that easy. Even when there is demand.

    I agree with you that all of the MLS apology stuff is really tired.

  64. northzax says:

    Andy,

    you are right, of course, you can always go the Marlins route and bank your profit sharing, pay the minimum to barely compete and trundle along. but that only works in a revenue-sharing scheme there there are clubs that make a ton of money to share. The Yankees, for instance, lose a lot of money every year, the Steinbrenners get a very nice write off, as the other corporate arms make millions more than the yankees lose (last year the Yankees lost something like $100million, luckily, their side deals, held in other corporate names, made $200 million) do the Galaxy actually make money? I doubt it. especailly when amortizing the losses over time. Does AEG make money off the brand, and the stadium? probably. ancillary revenue is a wonderful thing.

    as for your other example, yes, ManU makes money. but then they have insane revenues, based on buying those players. it’s just a question of which revenue streams you are counting. but the real money isn’t in the year to year profits, it’s in the long term growth of the franchise. Think of it like buying an investment property to rent out. does my landlord make money on my rent compared to his mortgage? probably not a lot, maybe a hundred bucks a month. compared to the $500K he put into the place, that’s not much (you’d do better putting it in the bank and leaving it) so why bother? because I am basically paying for his investment cost, he’s guessing that in 5, 10, 15 years, the place will be worth much more than it was when he bought it. that’s where the money is. he’s not going to retire on my rent, even ten years from now, but if the place is worth $750K in ten years, and I’ve been paying his costs, he’s done ok, right?

    Take, as another American example, the Redskins. Dan Snyder bought the club a decade ago for about $500m. since then, he’s made paper profits (who knows how much he and his partners have invested year to year) of about $30m/year, assuming he hasn’t invested anything. not bad (but then he has spend money, a lot of it) that’s peanuts compared to the value of the franchise that has increased from $500m to $1.4billion over that time. now THAT’s real money.

    MLS isn’t at either of these places yet, not even close. the value of having the operating rights to a team is in the long term growth of the brand (and in the ancillary streams) not in operating profits. That model is no longer successful beyond the minor leagues.

  65. brett says:

    Don – i highly highly doubt both Portland and Vancouver get a team… maybe 1 or the other but not both….

    personally i hope they hold off on the expansions after these 2 are picked and let the teams build up in strength… then i hope they reinstate the Reserves league better and stronger….

  66. A Vernal says:

    I think the MLS should absolutely reconsider; I always did. I can’t see why established teams like Portaldn and Montreal aren’t leading the pack to begin with, but I’m sure it has to do with $.

    Anyway, I’d like to see the USL and MLS be one league with a system of relegation and promotion. They could even keep their playoff system, if they even wanted to. Anyway, a boy can dream…

  67. istvan says:

    I was at the game last night.

    Top tickets were $50, scalpers were getting $100 at the Pie-IX Metro station outside the stadium. So, there goes the theory about tickets being cheap. Actually, it cost more to go to this game than it would a TFC match.

    As well, there were lineups like crazy to buy replica Impact Puma jerseys at $110 a pop, or T-shirts, anywhere from $25-$40.

    This was NOT a discount event.

    As for the MLS vs. USL debate, in Canada, where the MLS is new, and the resident team LOST in the Canadian championships to an established elite USL team, fans here see no marked difference between the leagues.

    Yes, it’s easy to say Montreal is fluking its way to wins. Except, when you think about all the teams that its dispatched, well… maybe not so fluky.

    Then, well, there were FIVE, count ‘em, FIVE, MLS teams that had the chance for Champions League honours. There were the four U.S. qualifiers and Toronto FC, through the Canadian championships. All but one, Houston, are LONG GONE. Now it’s easy to SAY MLS is superior, but there is no proof of that on the field.

    I am sure Mr. Garber is not going to tolerate his MLS sides putting out reserves for Champions League games in 2009. But, as it stands, the international optics is that MLS is very overrated. And until MLS can get international results, that perception is warranted.

    As for Montreal… remember that USL has no salary cap. A lot of the Impact players are making more from Joey Saputo than they would in the MLS. Peter Byers turned the Quakes down because they couldn’t pay him close to what he gets in Montreal. Now that Saputo and Garber have made it personal, watch Saputo use money to try and strengthen USL and his franchise and hurt the MLS.

    In the end, I can see both Vancouver — who aren’t sure about the MLS wanting it to alter its youth program, which is a MAJOR sticking point — or Montreal in MLS. What I do see down the road is the money of Saputo and Kerfoot making USL into a real rival league for the MLS.

    If MLS diehards think that, without massive changes to the way the league is run, that Garber can keep the MLS well ahead of the USL, well, keep your heads in the sand.

  68. jmac says:

    Nate hit the nail on the head. The 40 Mil. or nothing crowd will be calling St. Louis TTT when they have poor attendance.

    Montreal has great support, is a major tv market, and good ownership in place. The city is a great expansion opportunity, and MLS is seriously considering letting this opportunity pass itself by.

  69. JC says:

    I don’t see the point in MLS ignoring the cities in North America that thrive and show that they can support the game at this level of competition, but rather look for someone with deep pockets that can’t sell **** because they put the team in a “MAJOR LEAGUE” town that doesn’t have any interest in the game at any level.

    You either want the game to work here and grow, or you can sell to deserts of Phoenix and smug citizens of Florida to cushion Kraft’s ass.

    “You’re doing it wrong!”

  70. jloome says:

    Dude, the equation is simple, and I simply can’t believe MLS hasn’t figured it out yet:

    1) The entire continent is covered in immigrants and their children; my parents are from Britain, my Buddy’s are from serbia etc. That’s the excellent consequence of both the U.S. “melting pot” and Canadian “multiculturalism”: both sodcieties are built on immigration.

    2) People everywhere else love football. But up until recently — i.e. the last couple of years and the signings of Angel and Beckham — none of them were willing to watch the local brand of football; it’s pretty poor, let’s face it, compared to the top leagues most of them follow.

    3) The day Beckham signed, TFC’s season tickets jumped from 4,000 to 10,000. It wasn’t because of Beckham, it was because of what he represented: the sport being taken seriously by professional owners. As soon as it seemed like serious football, it drew out the serious fans. I’ve followed every second I can of Liverpool for nearly 35 years; I didn’t follow a minute of USL until it started playing MLS teams for the continental title.

    4) Once fans in Seattle saw that a) they were getting a DP with real skills (albeit hips and ankles of glass) and b) that Toronto’s hardcore fanbase had proved you could recreate the European club enviornment, their season tickets took off.

    THe obvious conclusion, and one many TFC fans will admit is true, is that MLS is taking off among formerly-dormant fan bases. There’s no reason to think the same isn’t true in large USL cities like Montreal and Vancouver.

    And in truth, you’ll find the same thing now in just about any large north American city. As long as people believe the right environment will be created (SSS, hardcore fans singing throughout, some top level players), it’s going to be the norm from now on, not the exception, for new franchises to sell out their season ticket base.

    In fact, I imagine the next step will be getting the league’s founding franchise communities to catch up, which won’t take long. That’s the beauty of a grassroots, fan-driven process.
    ————————————–
    STEVE WROTE: I find myself, a huge mls supporter, rooting strongly for montreal and puerto rico (and houston of course). And the fact that Oswaldo “Dirty” Sanchez was the goalie makes it ten times better.

    If a USL team can get 50,000 in attendance, it seems like MLS teams should be able to average better than 10,000. Soccer is not much more popular there than many places in the US. What did they do that we don’t, and how can we improve? Thoughts?

  71. Goalscorer24 says:

    Sanchez is a loser! Dos a Ciero!

  72. Simon B says:

    I agree, dropping the fee in the case of Montreal makes a lot of sense. getting upset about Montreal not having to pay the same is very short sighted. It’s franchises like Montreal that will raise the profile of the entire league as well as the price for future expansion. Want to know why they’re asking for 40 mil this time around, Toronto FC! if TFC hadn’t been such a major success there’s no way they would’ve been able to ask that much. Now with seattle a major success it’s more fuel to the fire.

    not only would montreal add another fantastic franchise to the league, it would add value to every other franchise.

  73. sucram89 says:

    I don’t think MLS should reconsider asking Montreal. They should beg Montreal to join! There are some teams in the MLS that can’t even turnout 55,000 you combined the total for 2 games maybe even 3. Adding Montreal to the league will do nothing but help. and to answer someone’s question if the MLS is asking 40 million to join that’s ridiculous and yes they should lower that.

  74. East River says:

    I don’t see MLS and USL getting into a turf war over who is the top league. US Soccer by way of a FIFA demand designated MLS as its 1st division. Its the only way the sport can survive in North America. To have two warring leagues is simply not in the interest of the sport here and it has happen before in North America with soccer. MLS and US Soccer have gone out of there way to avoid those mistakes of the past with having two leagues trying to be top dog and getting into transfer bid battles with Euro clubs. MLS just makes plenty of others mistakes is the problem.

  75. Scott C from Buff says:

    Yes, Montreal needs to be considered again, and IMHO should be the front runner. 50,000 fans for a weeknight CCL game is amazing. Trying to run a league on expansion fees is so short sighted. You need to be in markets where you will have a strong fan base, that’s how your going to make money in the long run. I doubt there is any MLS team that could draw 50,000 fans for any game…

  76. SkiFast! says:

    This is great. Anytime Sanchez gets scored on is fun :)

  77. Marc Silverstein says:

    What will attendance by in Puerto Rico tonite? Anyone care to guess?

  78. brett says:

    simon b- i dont think the issue would be in the MLS headquarters, but rather the other teams who paid more to get the same spot… unless they dropped the other team’s fee as well, it wouldnt make much sense…. you’d have bad blood between owners and the headquarters….

    again i say they pay a portion of it (ie. 30M USD) then pay the remaining amount (10M USD) through portions of the gates/tickets… this way the amount is such a burden up front and they could pay it off within X amount of years….

  79. Jeremy says:

    A.S., that’s because the Red Bulls don’t have that much of a supporter base due to crappy Stadium location etc.

    And because MLS teams refuse to take this kind of thing seriously. Just imagine a CONCACAF region with a CL as important as the Copa Libertadores. If the MLS teams could get this kind of support for CL, the revenue would be awesome. And it would be exciting as f*ck.

  80. JF Prieur says:

    Northern climate, the game was played indoors ffs…

    They got 55000+ the same way that the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007 drew almost 2 million spectators across Canada. Canada is more open to the outside world than the US and we don’t consider that the MLS is the be-all and end-all of American (in the continental sense) football.

    Americans suffer from a “not invented here” syndrome which is why they don’t get it.

    Couldn’t care less if the MLS never comes to Montreal, and I think the Impact doesn’t either. The Impact is a not-for-profit corporation by the way so most of the proceeds from last nights attendance go to soccer all across the province of Quebec. That too is not the MLS way.

  81. yankiboy says:

    What will attendance by in Puerto Rico tonite? Anyone care to guess?

    Posted by: Marc Silverstein | February 26, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    ——————————————–

    If we get 5K at Loubriel tonight I will be impressed. After some people paid to see the friendly with DCU last Saturday and will World Baseball Classic games coming up, I am expecting more like 3500 and that might be a stretch.

    Our attendance is not one of our strong points. We have hardcore supporters who go to every match (like a lot of other places).

    It’s a great stadium to visit because of the concourse atmosphere as well. It is different than compared to anyplace in the States.

    It’s economics (significantly poorer than even the poorest state in the USA) and the plain truth is that in Puerto Rico, to paraphrase Joe Serralta, the federation president in an article a week or so ago “There is not a culture that wants to pay to watch soccer”.

    I’m not Puerto Rican and I don’t live on the Island so I’m not making any “judgements” about the reality. I’m just communicating what is a (perceived) reality by what i have seen personally and what people who know much more than I do.

    The biggest crowds that the Islanders have drawn have been for USL playoff or run up games and they have been 13.5 K a few times. Which, when the first time it happened and I was in the crowd, I never dreamed that I would see for a futbol/balonpie/soccer match in Puerto Rico before the Islanders joined USL.

  82. Garrett says:

    Montreal usually reports sellouts. They give away so many seats and charge very little for the ones they sell to inflate their numbers so it looks like their attendance is better than it really is.

    If you don’t believe me dig up some footage of Stade Saputo last year from USL Live when they reported a sell-out. You’ll see what I mean.

  83. nate says:

    Wow, great point Garrett…I mean, how long must it have taken the Impact to construct the 50k cardboard cutouts of fans for last night???

  84. HIncha Tim says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure about the USL not going after the MLS as the premier league. The USL could approach owners and keep their entry fees low and let the owners actually invest it in their clubs and have a promotion and regulation system (which it is set up to do now if it wanted with USL-1, USL-2). As as far as FIFA mandating that the MLS be the top league, what does that mean anyways? USL teams, if they are better, could still qualify for the top tournaments. I’m by no means an expert on this, but I’m not sure in American courts that FIFA designating the MLS the top league and trying to restrain the USL would neccessarily hold up under anti-trust laws or in the World Court under free trade agreements, if the USL ever pursued it.

  85. Ron says:

    Montreal is about as good as a fair number of MLS teams. That doesn’t mean MLS should roll out the red carpet for them, though.

  86. northzax says:

    guys, this was one event. let’s not get crazy here. in Saputo’s own words, this was a ‘soccer carnival’ in Montreal. yes, it’s great to see those numbers, but let’s not forget, the Red Bulls drew 66k to see the Galaxy the other year. one event can bring out a huge crowd. I don’t see the RB repeating that attendance night after night.

    as for last night, 35,000 of those tickets were ten dollars. the fifty dollar price quoted above was only for 300 tickets. out of 50,000. not a big percentage.

    As for actual numbers over a season, the Stade Saputo holds 13,000. the most expensive season tickets are 390 for the season (for 17 games) or 22 bucks a pop (canadian) which is on par with the second cheapest season tickets you can get at DC United (I use that for comparison because I know the team) Montreal sells 2,000 of those.

    so let’s say the deferred plan went into effect. and Montreal had five years to make up ten million US. at 20 home games (including other competitions) and 13,000 seats, a complete sellout for the season is 260,000 tickets. that’s only a surcharge of five bucks per ticket, per game, including season tickets, to pay the fee. of course, they’d also need to expand to make any money (last year only two teams in MLS didn’t average above a sellout of Saputo) so add that cost in as well. and you’d need some suites, and hospitality areas, heads, food, etc. figure another ten million to amortize. now you’re looking at ten bucks a game, per head. to make the same revenues for operations. obviously, Saputo looked at those numbers and figured he couldn’t make it work. if he could, he would have gotten the financing from somewhere else and kept his bid alive.

  87. Alex says:

    I’m an Impact season ticket holder and I will try to answer some questions and stupid Montreal trash reasons for Santos loss.

    PRICE AND 55,000?
    I paid 40$ for the game yesterday at the BigO. My two season tickets in Central Midfield of Saputo Stadium cost me 400$ each. It’s not cheaper than what I saw on MLS websites. There are many reason for the 55,000. In Montreal we love soccer and sports in general, the big events, miss the Expos and more important Impact Management is for sure one of the best in North America Soccer. They don’t want to outbid for a place in the MLS, wich is just an other exemple of how bright they are.

    THE GAME?
    Maybe Santos Laguna is a better team, but Montreal had a good game strategy and won by respecting it. I was a bit scared after the first goal, Santos seems more dangerous but most of their shots missed the goal. I don’t see where Montreal have been outmatch!?! The team behind have to control the game if they want to score, but maybe I miss something.

    THEY TOOK MONTREAL LIGHTLY?
    They don’t, in many interviews in Montreal medias before the game their coach explained the respect he has for Impact’s achievement in the tournament. They saw the games Impact-Atlante and were aware of what Impact was capable. The top 11 of Santos was also on the field. Impact 2 – Sanchez 0.

    FIXTURE CONGESTION?
    During the Canadian Cup (between TFC, Vancouver and Mtl) the fixture was according to MLS schedule, so, favorable to TFC (the club supposed to easily win it all). Both Vancouver and Montreal (USL) where dissapointed, but the result is the Montreal-based USL team won. It should not be an excuse, these guys are pro, and should be fit.

    ARTIFICIAL TURF?
    BMO field (TFC ground) is artificial turf but Montreal players are used to the comfort of Saputo Stadium natural grass surface.

    HISPANIC ATTENDANCE?
    Yesterday, I was sit in a section close to the ‘Guerreros’ and I can say they where not very vocal. There was also a dozen mexicans (Chivas fans) in the row behind us (all dressed with National team jersey), also mute all the game. There are many latin descents living in Montreal, but in the stadium yesterday most of them were cheering for their team… the IMPACT.

    NORTHERN CLIMATE?
    In a dome… I think I’m missing something on this one. It’s not a Zenith Saint Petersburg game.

    MLS TOPIC
    If MLS don’t want Montreal market and the Impact it’s just too bad. Impact is a great club, with big league management and a great fan base. They will find a way to kick some MLS butts from time to time (Concacaf-CL, Canadian Cup, etc.) and make the league look stupid.

    I think it’s a no brainer that MLS should find a way to reconsider their position.

  88. JCC says:

    northzax, don’t kid yourself, the people that went to the Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy for the most part were there to see David Beckham. Yes there were Red Bulls fans in attendance, but if there’s no Beckham there’s no way they get 66K in attendance.

    The people at last night’s game in Montreal were there for the most part to watch and support the Montreal Impact, not anyone player or Santos. Are you honestly telling me that the Red Bulls would get the exact same support if they were playing Santos Lagunas in the CCL? You’d probably get a larger turnout due to Mexican fans, but how many people would actually show up to cheer on the Red Bulls at Giants Stadium in the same situation?

  89. Alex says:

    Garrett just for your information, when a season ticket holder decide not to go to a game is seat is reserved. So, vancant.

  90. fcmuenchweiler says:

    nate, you RULE! I’m so there with Garber and his lack of vision. I’ve long speculated that he, as an NFL guy, has always had the NFL and MLB’s best interests at heart. The constant disrespect on ESPN and the lack of vision with regard to USL teams is only the tip of the iceburg with this clown. See my post on Soccer Insider. Here’s to hoping the Timbers and Whitecaps give a big middle finger to Garber’s MLS model and we have the MLS teams begging for a $40 million expansion fee into USL 1. The league structure is better there. Garber’s pyramid/Ponzi scheme is bull$h…..

  91. Zach says:

    MLS teams are generally better than USL teams. The reason they didnt make it out of group stages is because they played their reserves as they couldnt afford to play the 1st team. In USL, competition is not as high for good team like Montreal so they get away with playing their starters for too many games. But in MLS, the margin between first and last isnt that much and a team can loose at anytime, so they cant afford to field a tired lineup. Just look at what happened to Dynamo in Playoffs.

  92. East River says:

    Hincha Tim, The issue has been explained in law journal papers on the players union case against MLS from a few years back. Part of the case the players had was that MLS had a monopoly on the market sanction by US Soccer. The court sided with MLS saying that it was clear that it is normal practice in the industry that a country’s fed sanction only one league as its first division so that it will be viable. MLS is barely viable right now. USL and all of its former incarnations were always set up to be the grassroots of American soccer. It too is also barely viable. If it tries to be more than a 2nd division I think it will shoot both itself and MLS in the foot and that would be tragic for the US and Canada.

    USL needs to maintain its role which is an important one. MLS needs to take notes from the USL on how having a grassroots approach and keeping it simply can take you a long way.

  93. yankiboy says:

    @ fcmuenchweiler: I can’t believe that I am about to defend Donnie G (my body is about to convulse).

    The league is much better off with him at the helm. The conspiracy theories about him trying to subvert the sport–I don’t even know how to respond to that one with a straight face.

    I truly respect your passion for the sport and the fact you show the USL love because I got a lot of love for the USL as well.

    In my book, Donnie G gets high marks for his stewardship of the league. We’ll see how he does now that he has lost his best lieutenant.

    MLS is way better of than it was in 96 or 00 or 02 or 06.

    I respectfully gotta disagree with you on that one. The professional game is in a better than it has been in what, almost 30 years and even back then there was a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  94. Garrett says:

    @Alex

    So all those empty seats at Saputo are just season ticket holders who decided not to show? Please.

    Everyone that knows the USL knows Montreal inflates its attendance. The estimates are that they give away roughly half their seats every game for free to sponsors.

  95. John Bladen says:

    RE: the expansion fee for MLS…

    Guys, the question I was asking isn’t “Should MLS lower fees for Montreal?”, it was “Is the fee too high, period?”

    Several people pointed out that there are “plenty” of markets willing to pay the $40M. Not sure that that’s true. They are actually dropping like flies, which goes some way to explaining the Commish’s sudden love affair w Ottawa. Some of the candidates have said they’ll pay the full amount, others haven’t been quite as clear on the matter:
    Miami was lukewarm on it (Claure said “If everyone else pays the same”, while his partners in Barcelona said “let’s think about this”);
    Vancouver seemed fine with it (but have other objections, as has been mentioned;
    Atlanta & Montreal were not interested at the price;
    NYC’s Fred Wilpon didn’t even apply at $40M (and yes, he has the cash…)
    St. Louis still appears not to have it’s financing in order (they aren’t alone, Lew Wolff has just canned his similar “housing pays for stadium” approach);
    while Portland and Ottawa (for whom the taxpayer appears on the hook for everything BUT the expansion fee…) appear still to be willing, though neither has a stadium plan approved/funded.

    Out of the 8 prospective candidates a year or so ago, Mr. Garber appears to have two bonafide financial candidates left in Portland and Vancouver. Now, maybe STL will strengthen it’s backing (like Seattle did), or the voters in Ottawa will miraculously decide to fund Mr. Melnyk’s latest dream, or Barcelona will decide MLS is worth the price (which, at present, they don’t seem to).

    But if those things don’t happen? Mr. Garber has two candidates for two spots. And I suspect they’ll want to renegotiate the fee if that happens…

    My point is, demand for MLS clubs (which was always a little curious once the price rose above $20M or so, at which point the economics of an MLS franchise appear to turn quite sour) seems to be collapsing. Do you disagree?

  96. Curtis Spiteri says:

    Montreal would be a great market. However, they need to pay the $40 million fee. If not, then we’ll just go without expansion after Philly enters. That’s all there needs to be said about it.

    If Saputo doesn’t want to pay that amount then great; USL will be better off and MLS will be just fine.

  97. cuvintu says:

    I’ve read some things that said there was some interesting tactics used to get the attendance that high (like selling tickets for $6), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that 55,000 people showed up to watch the game. It’s a great result for Montreal, but I don’t think they should be “asked” to the table again. I think they should be allowed to present a bid if they want, and not turned down for that $40 million price tag. That’s frickin’ ridiculous. That needs to be lowered, cause even if there are teams out there willing to pay that, who knows what kind of debt people are taking on to make that happen. When a team has to shell out that kinda cash to start how can you be sure they’ll be financially viable in the future?

    link to endlines.wordpress.com

    link to endlines.wordpress.com

  98. istvan says:

    How about we settle the USL vs. MLS thing the way it should be settled, on the field?

    The USL champion Vancouver Whitecaps vs. the MLS champions Columbus Crew. Home and home. For the OFFICIAL championship of North America. No more excuses, no more rhetoric.

    But we all know there is NO WAY the MLS would have the guts to lay its league’s reputation on the line.

    Are the Impact as good as the top teams in the MLS? Probbably not. But, there is absolutely no doubt that, with the lineup it has now, that it threatens for a playoff spot. Joey Gjertsen and David Testo would have no problem taking on any MLS midfield. And, well, the Impact are deeper at striker and fullback than most MLS clubs.

    Last year, the Impact already proved it in two, best-on-best games against TFC. And TFC weren’t the worst team in MLS.

    And you couldn’t dare compare the most wretched MLS franchises, like the Galaxy, to the Impact.

    Still, the Whitecaps, not the Impact, are the USL champs, so they should be the ones to carry the torch.

    Let’s settle it on the field!

  99. carnifex2005 says:

    Actually istvan, it TFC beat Montreal in Montreal and tied Montreal at home. TFC lost to Vancouver at home and tied in Vancouver.

  100. Northzax says:

    Istvan: you know that Mexico is in North America too, right? Do they get a vote?

    Jcc: yes, of course most were there to see beckham. That’s the point. People come out for big events, whatever they may be. What percentage of those fans last night had ever been to am impact game, you figure? Watched them on tv? Knew where santos laguna is from?

  101. Richard says:

    They care more about (relatively big-time) soccer in Canada than in the US. What I don’t get is why everyone seems to want to make MLS to be _the_ top soccer league in N.A. I know there is only one top-flight soccer league in every other country, but until MLS loosens its salary cap (which ensures that virtually every MLS team will be some sort of mediocre), I’m all for a second league that can send competitive teams to the Champions League. Competition’s good, and I certanly enjoyed it when the AL and NL were completely separate leagues or when the AFL and NFL both existed.

  102. undrafted says:

    Testo had plenty of problems keeping up at the MLS level.

  103. jtd says:

    islanders are about to beat marathon 2-0.

    usl is off to a good start.

  104. jtd says:

    oops i ,mean 2-1

  105. Scott A says:

    @JF Prieur
    Good luck keeping the Impact relevant to top-flight soccer after a couple decades as a non-profit

    @fcmuenchweiler
    You seriously think that major players will pay $40 million to enter USL and spurn MLS???
    MLS is so clearly set up for more long-term success than USL I don’t know how to respond

  106. G-MAN says:

    Hold On. The Olympic stadium is a great venue. I as there in 76 when 72,000 packed it to see the Olympic final. I was there in 83, when 58,000 thousand saw the NASL Manic beat the Sting.

    And I was there when 55,500 saw a Mexican team go down in flames to the USL Impact with seven –SEVEN locals in the stating 11.

    Montreal is a soccer town and we don’t need the MLS to prove that.

  107. A few facts and observations about the turnout at the Big O – I was there.

    Tickets ranged from $10 to $50. About 50 % of all seats were $10. Balcony sections in the stadium are not very popular but account for about 40 % of stadium capacity. You couldn’t price them much higher. According to Joey Saputo, this brings the average ticket price to $15-$16 – times 55,571. Add food, drinks, souvenirs… It sums up to be a pretty lucrative game.

    Typical week night games do not draw youth soccer clubs. I saw hard core fans, a lot soccer moms and dads with their teens, scattered Mexican fans, but no noticeable groups. In fact, most Latin Americans I saw in the crowd were Impact fans. Many people were attending their first Impact game. Most amazingly, marketing wasn’t that effective as hockey draws most media attention in winter time. Montreal is arguably the Mecca of Hockey, yet there are more registered amateur soccer players than hockey players in the Province of Quebec. The Impact management was clever enough to tap in that latent market and, quite frankly, was surprised by its own success.

    55,571 is an all time CONCACAF Champion League record. The 2007 U20 World Cup games at the Big O drew crowds of 55,800 and 46,252 (third-highest attendance in history for a quarter-final). The Olympic Stadium attendance record for a pro soccer game is 58,542 – Montreal Manic vs. Chicago Sting in the NASL 1/2 finals on Sept. 2, 1981.

    As for Saputo stadium, its capacity is 13034. Average attendance at Impact games was 12,696 in 2008 regular season (1st in USL-1), 10,453 in the 4 previous Champion League games (2nd in CONCACAF CL 2008). Not bad considering 2 games were played under the rain at below 45 F temperatures.

    Montreal MLS Bid was 45 M$ CAN, including cost of stadium expansion to 20,000 seats, estimated at 15 M$ CAN. Leaving about 25 M$ US for expansion fees.

    I hope this answers most questions in this tread.

    ==

    FYI. The Impact coach announced in an interview this morning that the Impact will play the Dynamo in Houston this Saturday in preparation for their respective second leg games in Mexico.

  108. Northzax, I agree with you. Saputo & Gillett realized that paying 40 M$ US makes no economic sense, unless they want to alienate their fan base with corporate-level pricing. But get your facts straight.

    Season tickets at Saputo stadium start at $1525, then $1225, $790, $490. All these are already sold out. At $390, it is a section for which season ticket are still available. Note that this pricing is to attend USL games. MLS pricing would probably be a little more expensive.

    I had an interesting chat with the Impact director of sales last night before the game. The Impact pricing strategy is to make a game affordable for a family outing. That’s why they sell nearly half the stadium at a low fare. This is not much different from baseball game bleachers and ballpark access tickets.

    Empty seats are not just season ticket holder not showing up nor free handouts. It is lower priced tickets holders that often don’t show up when the weather is uncertain – they choose to lose $10 or $20 rather than spending 2 hours under the rain. This is an issue the Impact recognizes. Tickets are NOT given out to fill the stands.

    At the Big O, there were only 300 tickets at $50 because these were VIP tickets giving access to a room for a pregame cocktail that had a capacity limit. They would have easily sold thousands had they could. Saputo stadium offers more corporate packages that cost much more than $50 per seat. This is a trade off for moving the game to a temporary venue. Also, the first 10,000 tickets for the CL game were sold in less than 2 days – mostly tickets at $50, $35 and $30.

    I fail to understand why some people put so much effort to lessen the Impact success with false information. So what if Joey Saputo is playing hard ball with the MLS. Why shouldn’t he? He has good cards in his hands to negotiate and the economic environment seems to strengthen his position every day. This is a big boy’s game!

  109. carnifex2005 says:

    Well Sandroid, I don’t want to put it up to petty jealousy but it really does sound that way in most cases. Hell, in Vancouver the season tickets are equivalent to MLS prices but our stadium only seats 6000.I’m pretty sure the prices for BC Place will be quite a bit more when the Caps move there in 2011 (MLS or no MLS).

    Even our rich owner was a bit taken aback at the business case for a $40 million dollar franchise fee, especially since you still have to give up a portion of your ticket sales to MLS on top of that.
    Most people can’t get it through their heads that Impact (and to a lesser degree the Whitecaps) make plenty enough money to stay in USL and still make a tidy profit.

  110. Ddub says:

    the real question is can they get 55K when they play Columbus Crew? And will they get 55K in three weeks? All soccer isn’t created equal. Chivas can put 80K in the Rose Bowl if they play the Galaxy. That doesn’t mean the Galaxy can draw 80K alone. Regardless another point is seriously why doesn’t Canada start their own league instead of taking spots in ours. If MLS wants to be Canada fine but then just go there and leave here.

  111. carnifex2005 says:

    55 k for the Columbus Crew if it was the MLS Championship or even Semi-final. Probably. If Chivas can get 80k for the Galaxy (and that is a laughable statement) they would have done so already. Face it, in 95% of MLS markets there wouldn’t have been that many fans for the home team if the tickets were given away for free.

  112. Fredz says:

    Impact is not making tidy profit, it’s a NON-PROFIT organization. Everybody is well paid, the players got more cash to stay here and the rest of the revenue (about 80%-90%) is invested in soccer associations, which in return buy Impact tickets. These tickets are sold, not given, not free. Not having an ass on these seats is not a problem.

    If Impact win against Santos Laguna, Montreal will beat the Concacaf crowd record again in three weeks!!!

    The CCL is an event that worth more than giving $40m to the MLS.
    With only 3 teams in Canada for one Concacaf spot, it’s probably the best place in americas to be (for a player who likes to play in international soccer matches).
    Too bad for TFC and the MLS salary cap, Vancouver and Montreal will share that Concacaf spot for several years…
    That’s why we kept our best players from going to MLS.

    @Ddub
    why doesn’t Canada start their own league?
    For the same reasons that NHL moved Winnipeg’s and Quebec’s team to Phoenix and Colorado.
    GOD !!! Why USA have problems having Canadian teams? Why are you accepting international players in your MLS teams if you are so patriotic ??? Why partnership is such a problem across the border?

    Because USA are control freaks. They’re not controlling the Concacaf so they don’t like it.

  113. Luc says:

    The game was great… for Impact fans. I think that one on one, the Santos Laguna players were better, but the Impact seemed better organized as a team. Team play wins games.

    I sincerely hope that Montreal will one day be part of the MLS. It would simply be a win-win situation. MLS and Montreal can live without each other, but would be better off together…