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Montreal: New Baseball Stadium

gweed123

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#1
With the Jays playing a pre-season game in Montreal next year, there's been a lot more attention paid to one day returning baseball to Montreal. One of the biggest pre-conditions to an MLB return is a new stadium, since the Big O was, and would still be, the worst stadium in the MLB. So I started thinking to myself "What would be a good site for a new stadium?" This is what I've come up with:

Expo Site with Stadium.jpg


The stadium would be built on the western tip of Ile St-Hélène, the site of Expo 67. The site is currently occupied by Lac des Cygnes. It's directly adjacent to the Jean Drapeau metro station, and has direct access to the Concorde bridge. It would be built on city-owned land. It's also walking distance to the Casino de Montreal, so there's a chance for a bit of an entertainment district there.

Realistically, there a very few sites in Montreal that are metro-adjacent and are pretty much a blank slate. That and the killer view of Downtown Montreal that this station would have, make it a pretty desirable site IMO. It would also be pretty cool to have the Expos playing AT Expo.

Here's a view of the stadium in a larger context:

Expo Context with Stadium.jpg


For those interested, the stadium I used as a template is Citi Field, current home of the Mets, and one of the newest ballparks in the MLB. The images have been scaled, so that the stadium is at the same scale as the island. So yes, an MLB stadium, as long as it's not as big as the Big O, would fit comfortably on that site, although the plazas surrounding the stadium may have to be larger or smaller in certain spots in order to conform to the road pattern.
 

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#2
Maybe they could use the old plans for Labatt Park that were kicked around in 2000

 

gweed123

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#5
It would have been adjacent to the Bell Centre in the outlined area
Interesting spot, and certainly transit accessible. Definitely more convenient than the Big O.

Nevertheless, I think there's something special about the future Expos playing on the site that was formerly Expo.
 

gabe

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#6
Is there enough baseball fans in Montreal? One of the reasons the Expo's moved is because they had two decades of poor attendance.
 

gweed123

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#7
Is there enough baseball fans in Montreal? One of the reasons the Expo's moved is because they had two decades of poor attendance.
I think it was two-fold:

1) Fans were really bitter from the 94 strike. They had the best team in baseball, and then the plug was pulled on the season. The team was gutted the following season and fans just never came back.

2) The Big O was (and still would be) the worst venue in the MLB to watch a baseball game, bar none. You're seeing the same thing in Tampa right now. Even with a good team, with a crappy stadium in a bad location, people don't show up.

Of course, the demand for baseball will be clearer as of this March when the Jays and Mets play 2 pre-season games in Montreal. If they manage to sell out the Big O, I think that would be a pretty strong indication that the demand is still there.
 

syn

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#8
I think it was two-fold:

1) Fans were really bitter from the 94 strike. They had the best team in baseball, and then the plug was pulled on the season. The team was gutted the following season and fans just never came back.

2) The Big O was (and still would be) the worst venue in the MLB to watch a baseball game, bar none. You're seeing the same thing in Tampa right now. Even with a good team, with a crappy stadium in a bad location, people don't show up.

Of course, the demand for baseball will be clearer as of this March when the Jays and Mets play 2 pre-season games in Montreal. If they manage to sell out the Big O, I think that would be a pretty strong indication that the demand is still there.
Support wasn't great before that either though. Their attendance was below the NL average in 30 of their 35 seasons.

The chances of baseball going back to Montreal in the new future (stadium or not) are slim to none.
 

someMidTowner

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#12
I think it was two-fold:

1) Fans were really bitter from the 94 strike. They had the best team in baseball, and then the plug was pulled on the season. The team was gutted the following season and fans just never came back.

2) The Big O was (and still would be) the worst venue in the MLB to watch a baseball game, bar none. You're seeing the same thing in Tampa right now. Even with a good team, with a crappy stadium in a bad location, people don't show up.

Of course, the demand for baseball will be clearer as of this March when the Jays and Mets play 2 pre-season games in Montreal. If they manage to sell out the Big O, I think that would be a pretty strong indication that the demand is still there.
GW: I agree with you here about Montreal's baseball fan support - Let's see what the two game Blue Jays-Mets series brings...

LI MIKE
 
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#13
Maybe they could use the old plans for Labatt Park that were kicked around in 2000

GW and CC: This may be the better site for a future Montreal Expos stadium because I wonder if Isle St. Helene could
be susceptible to flooding from the St. Lawrence River noting how close it will be...

If the MLB decides to ever expand again could Montreal compete for a team?

LI MIKE
 
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#14
Unfortunatley Mike - that site is no longer viable as 75% of the site has since been developed
 

gweed123

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#15
I'm not sure why - Bell/CTV Globemedia have just lost the rights to NHL - they could make a run at owning the new team - it will give them more content for their stations
I was thinking the exact same thing. Bell just 'saved' themselves a lot of money by not winning the NHL contract. Rogers currently dominates the MLB market in Canada, because they're the exclusive broadcasters of Jays games. If Bell can get a competing product on TSN/TSN2/RDS, at least during the summer months they could cash in. TSN would own a big chunk of the summer sports market (half of MLB and all of the CFL), and Rogers would own the winter market.

GW: I agree with you here about Montreal's baseball fan support - Let's see what the two game Blue Jays-Mets series brings...

LI MIKE
IIRC it's nearly sold out for both games. I'm going to the game on the Saturday, so let's see how energetic it will be.

GW and CC: This may be the better site for a future Montreal Expos stadium because I wonder if Isle St. Helene could
be susceptible to flooding from the St. Lawrence River noting how close it will be...

If the MLB decides to ever expand again could Montreal compete for a team?

LI MIKE
There have been numerous structures built on the Expo site (Montreal Casino, LaRonde, etc). Out of curiosity, have any of those ever had flooding issues?

I just figured that a site that was city-owned land in a relatively central location with direct metro access would be worth exploring. Plus with that site itself, it could be one of the most stunning views in the MLB, with a similar feel to PNC Park in Pittsburgh.