There is not only strong interest from local fans and businesses in bringing back a professional baseball team to Montreal, but the project would be viable in the long run, according to a new study commissioned by prominent investors.
“The results show how excited people are about the return of Major League Baseball to Montreal,” said businessman and group leader Stephen Bronfman in a statement released on Thursday.
“The data we’ve collected will greatly assist us with achieving our ultimate goal of bringing MLB back to Montreal in an exciting, successful and sustainable way.”
As part of the consultation process, there were six focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with 13 local business owners in 2018.
An online survey was also conducted to gauge fan interest. It asked 13,900 Montrealers what kind of ballpark experience they would like to have.
WATCH BELOW: Remembering the Montreal Expos
The report claims Montreal ranks 15th out of 27 MLB markets for metropolitan size. It also found the city is “the strongest market among potential expansion or relocation candidates.”
The findings also reveal that 90 per cent of participants in the focus group discussions said they want a ballpark location close to the downtown core. A total of 80 per cent said they would opt for walking, biking or taking public transit to the ballpark.
Fans want a ballpark that would offer a high level of customer service. They expressed interest in social gathering spaces, food and beverage options and unique design elements that are Montreal-based.
Both business owners and fans also showed interest in general admission seating, as well as premium seats from both fans and business owners.
The findings come nearly two days after the Tampa Bay Rays said its plans for a new stadium have failed due to a lack of funding and little political support. The team is now searching for a new site, just as Montreal seeks a team.
— With files from The Canadian Press