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Fans Optimistic on MLB’s Return to Montreal

Montreal Expos

Plenty of work remains to make the vision a reality, but fans are expressing optimism over the possible return of Major League Baseball to Montreal

An investment group led by Stephen Bronfman and Mitch Garber has been soliciting fan feedback on a possible replacement for the Montreal Expos. Through series of focus groups, information is being sought about what prospective ticket buyers would want from a new ballpark in terms of areas like amenities, concessions, and ticketing.

If or when Montreal gets a team remains to be seen, due to a number of factors in addition to the city’s need to offer a more viable ballpark option than Olympic Stadium. MLB is unlikely to engage in serious expansion discussions until the ballparks searches of the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are resolved. Both the A’s and Rays have some hurdles to clear in their ongoing efforts, but for now the teams are working on plans to remain in their respective markets.

Still, even when taking those factors into account, fans are hopeful that baseball will return to Montreal in the coming years. More from CTV News:

Baseball fans have been hopeful for years about a return of a big-league team, but Major League Baseball has given no indication when or if it will approve a team in Montreal. Instead, Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he is concentrating on turning around the fate of struggling franchises in Tampa Bay and Oakland before looking at expansion.

That isn’t dissuading fans like Perry Giannias.

“There is no cart before the horse. This is absolutely happening,” he told CTV Montreal. “It’s just a question of when. Major League Baseball (has) repeatedly said they need to fix up the situation in Tampa Bay and they need to fix up the situation in Oakland before they talk expansion. Now, if we can get Tampa Bay, hey, that would be awesome. And if not, then I guess we can get an expansion team. But one of the two is going to happen for sure.”…

CTV News heard from fans taking part in the focus groups who said the stadium needs to be downtown and offer an experience affordable for families. Many said they expect a team within five to 10 years.

Recent signs have indicated that Bronfman and Garber are attempting to lay the groundwork for a new ballpark and team. The pair met with Montreal mayor Valérie Plante last month, and she indicated after their meeting that she is in on any plan that will provide good economic and social development to her city.

As noted, there will be a considerable amount of issues to sort through before it is determined when Montreal could have the opportunity to land a team, but the fan feedback process appears to be generating some interest among locals. Montreal has been without an MLB team since the Expos relocated to Washington following the 2004 season.

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