Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Speculations (and/or) Prognostications on Phase II of Montreal Baseball Project


This time of year (hall of fame votin' time) always makes me start thinking about Expos again. There's only one legend left for the Hall of Fame now but I still wait for the vote every year. I hope Rock makes it in soon.

Some time ago, I wrote about the Warren Cromartie led Montreal Baseball Project and on the righteous effort to revive the Montreal Expos baseball team:

(http://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2012/04/after-34-years-serious-heart-attack.html)

Re-reading it now, I said some dumb things. I really thought that the possibility of getting another Major League team here was slim and was talking in that article about maybe a Can-Am team or something. I think it was the fact that when baseball left Montreal the minority shareholders sued the league and I'm sure that must have left some bad blood between the city and the league.

However, now that Loria has gutted the Miami Marlins and screwed Miami taxpayers out of about 500 million bucks...people may be looking at the Montreal situation differently. Maybe people are now wondering, "hey, did Loria screw over Montreal too?"

Even that Taiwan news channel that takes popular news stories and turns them into computer animations jumped on the Loria hate-train,


I think the whole baseball world is now starting to understand why the minority Expos shareholders sued the league in a RICO suit. It's because this guy Loria is a real art-dealin' trickster something fierce, I tell you.

I think now that Montreal can get a Major League team back and no one says it better than Cromartie himself on his blog at www.warrrencromartie.com,

"And, by no means am I trying to be a hero. I’m just trying to do the right thing. I know for a fact that Montreal is not an independent league town, and that it’s not a minor league town, either. Montreal is a Major League town. Montreal has a population close to 4 million people." -Cro

He goes on to elegantly state that,

"And so, as someone who played for the Expos and played in the city of Montreal, who was proud to play for the Expos and who loves the city as much as I do, I’ve taken the bull by the horns and (rather than man up I’ve) Expo’d up: I’ve decided to try and do something about bringing baseball back to the city of Montreal.-Cro
Yes, the Cro has "Expo'd up" and everyone knows when someone Expo's Up...serious business is afoot! I can't help but think of a superman type scenario where in order to indeed "Expo Up" you'd need to run into an empty telephone booth, rip open your business shirt to reveal the Expos uniform waiting underneath, and then fly through the air at top speed of 100-200 miles per hour.

In another article, he claims that Montreal is a "five-tool" city for the following reasons:

"1. History
Montreal has a very long and rich baseball history. The Royals played their first season in the Eastern League in 1897. In 1939, the Royals became the Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm club and it’s here that Jackie Robinson played the 1946 season one year before breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues. The city embraced Robinson in the only year he was here, and after he helped the Royals win the Junior World Series, fans stormed the field to carry him on their shoulders. You can go to the corner of Delorimier Avenue and Ontario Street East, and stand in the place where old Delormier Stadium stood, in the place where some of baseball’s elite, like Don Drysdale, Roberto Clemente, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Tommy Lasorda, and Sparky Anderson, made their marks as very young men. It was only fitting then, that in 1969, Montreal was awarded the first ever Major League franchise outside the United States. So many great players wore Expos’ uniforms over the years; Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, and possible future Hall of Famers Tim Raines, Pedro Martinez, and Vladimir Guerrero are just the tip of the iceberg. And, as I well know and am so proud of, in 1981, the Montreal Expos were the first non-U.S. team to make it to the postseason.


2. Population

Montreal is a big city with a very large population. According to a Conference Board of Canada report prepared in 2011, one of the “market pillars” needed to support a Major League Baseball team is a population of at least 2.5 million people. Montreal has almost 4 million people.


3. Passionate fan base

Montreal is known the world over for its multitude of festivals that are so well-attended each and every year. The Montreal Canadiens are an enormous success in terms of attendance, as are the Canadian Football League’s Alouettes, and the Impact, who have graduated this year to Major League Soccer. Montrealers are passionate about their teams and their events and I know they miss baseball dearly.


4. Corporate presence

By the same Conference Board report, we know that Montreal is home to 98 of Canada’s 800 biggest companies. Only Toronto and Calgary have more. And, with the Canadian dollar at or near par with the U.S. dollar – something that was far from the case throughout the history of the Expos – we are definitely living in a new and brighter era.


5. Me

Hey, Montreal’s got Warren Cromartie! A passionate former Expo who wants dearly to bring the team back to Montreal and put things right. Okay, I admit, Warren Cromartie alone cannot bring back Major League baseball to Montreal. Warren Cromartie alone cannot build a stadium fit for the new Expos. But Warren Cromarite, together with the fans and business interests, is going to try his damndest to do it!

I am loving this journey."

-Warren Cromartie, from www.warrencromartie.com


The key tool I will be focusing on in this article's prognostications/speculations is the 4th tool, that of corporate presence and thus the possible future shareholders of a revived Expos team.


The Best Possible Scenarios

1. Power Corp. 

This is sort of a pipe-dream, this company has never invested in local sports franchises and I doubt it ever will. It's kind of the greedy stereotyped conglomerate you'd see as the villain in movies.

Though, if they were in fact the owners (an 100% unlikely a scenario mind you) the Expos would have some pretty deep pockets. Power Corp. generates about 1 billion dollars a year in transparent on-shore reported net profits (wow). The average MLB team payroll is about 80 million bucks...which would cut into only 8% of their yearly earnings to field a competitive baseball team in their home city.

Obviously these guys would be in it for the profit and not the civic pride of winning a World Series, so let's crunch some more numbers here to arrive at some tangible profits,

According to Forbes magazine, the yearly revenue generated by a major league baseball franchise is in between 148 million (Marlins) and 439 million (Yankees). 

Our Olympic Stadium is fully payed for now, meaning the main operating expense is the player payroll, which is on average about 80 million. So, if it's done successfully and the team is competitive and profitable...they can make good money on this venture.

2. Québecor Media

This would be a far more likely scenario. Just like Rogers (the media conglomerate who owns the Jays), Québcor is a media conglomerate based in Montreal.

Since it also owns Sun Media which is a nationwide tabloid network and publication, it would have nationwide visibility for the team.

One of the things that really cut into the Expos profits was giving up the national broadcasting rights. The only data I have on hand (print, no link) is from 1982, when they were getting about 5 million in local broadcast revenues and about 2 million in national revenues. I guess at some point they thought they didn't need to keep the national rights and let the Jays have them. Which was not smart, because broadcasting revenues in baseball skyrocketed exponentially over the last 30 years and that 2 million they gave up on is worth a whole lot more to Rogers now.

Airing Expos games nationwide on Sun could create unwanted competition and maybe some sort of agreement between Rogers and Québecor on baseball airing rights. It could be in their best interests to work out a deal where Sportsnet would broadcast both Jays and Expos games (SP-1 for Jays, SP-2 for Expos) and create a nationwide two-team fever/buzz generating system.

Sun is a tabloid that thrives on scandals and sensationalism. I wonder if their ability to fan flames and create fervor amongst readers/viewers could translate into optimum buzz generation for a sports franchise.

3. Molson

Beer. Man do they make money at parks on the beers. I go to Alouettes games sometimes and drink like 12 beers and they cost like 9 bucks each. That's $108 right there.

This would also mean that the Expos and Canadiens would be under the same banner and could merge marketing strategies (winter and summer would then be all around beer sellin' season for Molson) and they would not be in direct competition when the two teams overlap schedules (only briefly during the end of hockey season and maybe at the start).

I read in Bill Veeck's book that he made so much more money off of concessions than he did off tickets any day of the week (even Sunday). That's why he made so many free night gimmicks and give-a-ways. He'd give tickets away for free just to fill the stadium (anyone remember $5 night at the Big O near the end times? You'd get 20-30K on that night and they'd all buy concessions).

There's 60K seats in the Big O, and what I could suggest for a Molson operated franchise is to make the ENTIRE upper deck FREE. Free as night, free as day, and free as AIR. You'd pay good money to sit in the 30,000 good field level seats, but the tickets for the other shitty nose-bleed upper-decker 30,000 seats would be handed out at the door for FREE! We'd call it the Les Expo Super Fan Club Zone and it would have cheerleaders and a beer vendor at every section. Better yet...the cheerleaders would SELL THE BEER! I buy beer when I don't even want it all the time just because the waitress is hot.

Say even 5,000 free loaders show up to hang out in the upper deck, if only half of them even bought beer at like 7 bucks a unit, and a fourth of them bought many beers (i.e. 4). You're talking a supplemental per game income of $48,000 which over 81 games would equate to just about 4 million dollars to add to your gate and regular concession revenues.

Could a Les Expos Super Fan Club Zone evolve into the summer pre-party hot spot for young people? If it's done right then I wouldn't see why it couldn't. If it does you could get even 20,000 beer drinking freeloaders per game, which would bring in a prognosticated $192,000 per game...and supplement 16 million dollars of income per season. Yes, 16 million dollars on giving away FREE TICKETS if it is done correctly and the hottest of chicks are found to hawk the beers.

To contrast the party zone, another area of the field (third base side facing the bullpen) will be quartered off as the Extreme Family Values Zone where kids under 6 and little babies can accompany their parents for free (at a maximum of 3 child units per family).

Yes, the key to a Molson run Expos team would be to take advantage of the space in the Big O to get maximum people in the stadium to purchase maximum concessions.


The Pen-Ultimate...(wait...no) The Super-Ultimate Case Scenario

The share-holder percentages of my prognosticated Golden-Super-Ultimate Case Scenario would be the following:

Power Corp: 33.333333334% 
Québecor: 33.3333333334%
Molson: 33.3333333334%

Within this tri-forced tri-umvirate lies the ultimate balance in Expos shareholding ownership. Each point of the Expos-World-Series-Profit-Generating-Dynasty-Making Tri-Umvirate will take a key role in the on going and sustainable success of the franchise.

1. Power Corp. will cover the payroll and player salaries.

2. Québecor would need to create a nationwide tabloid saturated buzz-generating Believer Fever which would subsequently be caught by human after human in successive turn. The ad campaigns must generate extreme hype, and the resulting media-saturated Expos fever should spread province-to-province, state-to-state, and country-to-country like WILD FIRE.

3. Molson must transform the Upper Deck Nose Bleeds into a veritable party central. This would be easier with a downtown park where the post-game exiting fans could file out and go straight to St. Catherines or St. Laurent, but at present state in any case the metro ride from Pie-IX to downtown will probably be pretty intense. Molson must do this by maximizing their beer vending and beer advertising capabilities and bring them to new levels. All kinds of gimmicks! Stuff like special guest celebrity beer vendors even.

and finally...

4. Warren Cromartie should be given the honorific title of President of the Expos and be the iconic face of the New Generation Expos.

oh and...

5. Gary Carter should be posthumously honored as Guardian Deity of the Expos, and a statue should be put in center field of him looking down on the field to protect the Expos from misfortune of all kinds.


Conclusion

You can call me crazy, you can call me a dreamer, you can call me weird, you can call me dumb, you can call me Ray, or you can even call me Jay, but one thing you can never say about me is that my prognostications are fundamentally unsound...

....because my prognostications are usually fundamentally sound.



(Edit: APRIL 9 of 2013): This  article gets some decent hits still (but a lot of spam-bot advertisement comments). For any new hits to this article I'd like to spruce it up a bit....so here's some Cro-bama posters for all you readers (unless you're spam bots then nevermind):



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