Not surprisingly, a poll of area residents indicated strong support for the notion of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal.
The poll indicated area residents were enthusiastic about the return of Major League Baseball to the city. From the Montreal Gazette:
The poll of 1,589 people taken by Leger Marketing showed 69 per cent were in favour of baseball’s return to the city. Only 11 per cent were opposed, and those mostly due to what it may cost.
Partial results of the poll, which was commissioned by the Montreal board of trade as part of a feasibility study on getting a team, were announced at a news conference called by the Montreal Baseball Project.
The project, spearheaded by former Expos outfielder Warren Cromartie, is hoping to revive major league ball in a city that saw the Montreal Expos leave after the 2004 season to become the Washington Nationals.
Of course, polls like this always show support for something like pro baseball. But there’s one important component to the poll: fans were not put off when specifically asked whether they’d pay $40 for a game ticket.
Still, bringing Major League Baseball back to Montreal will be a huge challenge. Many in MLB have a bad taste in their mouth because of the way the Expos departed Canada: under MLB ownership, operating at a loss. Still, despite the best efforts of Jeffrey Loria to salt the market, baseball is popular in Montreal, and there are plenty of argument for MLB’s return: 24-hour national sports networks both in English and French will give the team needed revenues, Montreal is a large market — the 15th largest market in all of North America — and the local economy is strong. And with two teams having serious ballpark issues (Tampa Bay and Oakland), there’s always hope the Canadian city can land another team. But it will take a new ballpark as well as owners with deep pockets.
RELATED STORIES: MLB temporarily returns to Montreal; Cromartie: We’re launching feasibility study on return of MLB to Montreal; Cromartie laying groundwork for return of MLB to Montreal; Conference board: Montreal can support MLB; More MLB dreams in Montreal; Montreal capable of supporting MLB — if there’s an owner with deep pockets
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