The Great Legend of Baseball Warren Cromartie and the president of the Chambre de Commerce du Montréal (Montreal Board of Trade) Michel Leblanc have just released the results of the Ernst and Young feasibility study commissioned by the Cro.
The 62 page Document (this word is always capitilazed within the Document and it should be because it's a pretty slick Document) is available for the public to peruse at their leisure:
It's 10 pm eastern standard time, and I seem to have some leisure time right about now...so I'm going to do some perusing. Why not? In this following article we shall be highlighting key components within the Document in an attempt to convince nay-sayers of the return of the Expos that...Yes, Major League Baseball in Montréal is 100% viable.
Summary of the "Document"
The Ernst and Young study is broken down into sections. The main conclusion of the report is for Montréal to adopt the methods of the Minnesota region and what they did with the Twins.
"The centrally located, open-air stadium (in a similar climate) was essential to retaining the Twins in Minneapolis, and the stadium has been a success for the MLB, for the fans and for the city’s development."
The comparison of Minnesota and Montréal is a good comparison because the cities are fairly similar in many data metrics. The populations are fairly similar, the weather conditions are very similar, the average income per household is fairly similar, etc. They also cite the similarities between the cities extend to baseball as well. The Twins and Expos were both slated to be contracted in 2002 by Major League Baseball and both cities played in huge dome style stadiums with astro-turf.
The Twins, however, solved their stadium woes and became viable again by contesting contraction in all levels of court led by the Heroic Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura (I like this guy, it was cool to see his name in the Document). Eventually they built a nice, new, baseball-style, non-cavern stadium and have been doing well ever since.
The statistics they provided for the construction and financing of Target Field in Minnesota are the following:
Construction start date: August 30, 2007
Date opened: January 4, 2010
Architect: Populous/Hammel, Green and Abrahamson
54 suites, 2 mega suites
Funding: Combination of Minnesota Ballpark Authority
(64%) and Minnesota Twins (36%)
Ballpark construction cost: $390M
City infrastructure cost: $155M
It states that the Minnesota stadium was linked to the downtown core in order to be a very accessible and chill area. They "constructed a large plaza in the outfield to connect the stadium to the downtown core" in order to syngergize the stadium with other local business (i.e. restaurants, pubs, boutiques, etc.).
When they talk about accessibility they are referring to how how easy it is to get to and out of the stadium. Target Field has 2 major freeways connecting to it, 20 busses passing by it, 7,000 parking spots, and hundreds of bike racks.
If you remember, Montréal's original stadium incarnation was buried way out of the downtown core at Pie-IX metro. They are suggesting to build a festive and accessible hub in the downtown core that will lure locals and tourists to the area which is a great idea.
They cite in a Minnesota based economic study,
"According to an independent economic impact analysis, Target Field also generated at least $169.3 million in economic activity in its first year of operation"
That's not baseball related, that's due to the area surrounding the stadium becoming prime real estate for opening enterprises and drawing investors to open businesses in the area.
The study found that the ideal division for the Montréal 2.0 team to play in is the AL East citing that,
"The new franchise should ideally play in the American League East – the team would have natural rivalries with several cities including Toronto, Boston and New York. The presence of these teams in Montreal would enhance the business case as well as the local television broadcasting rights deal – playing against more popular teams results in a larger television audience"
I hate the Designating Hitter rule, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, eh? I have to 100% agree with this assessment. Just like Canadiens vs. Bruins or Canadiens vs. Leafs...this set-up will maximize rivalry multipliers and get fans all rabid. Nothing works me up more than losing to Toronto at something. If we were in the same division, forget it, it will be mass hysteria bro...I'm talking mass hysteria, dude.
The Document covers data from a poll of a sample size of Montréal citizens and business leaders and the data is used to from projections (or you could call them prognostications too). These projections are pretty meaty numbers and would make quite of few entrepreneurs mouth water while reading them. Taking into account the demand and the average income per household they create a maximization algorithm for ticket pricing and the numbers look very good.
The study has a great section on economic impact for the region which has some pretty meaty figures in it too. Synergizing the construction phase, the operation of the club, and the tourism attracted to the city... it shows the positive economic impact of the return of baseball would be immediately noticeable. They provide figures for GDP generated and the jobs created by this venture. They conclude on this matter,
"In total, the new ballpark would support approximately 1,500 jobs annually in Quebec during the construction phase with the impact on GDP being approximately $130M annually – two thirds of this effect would be in Montreal
Operation of a new ballpark would support (annually) 825 direct jobs, plus 600 indirect and induced jobs, with an approximate contribution of $96M to Quebec GDP"
This Document is a pretty good read, if you're interested in data and baseball and things like that (like me) then you should probably peruse it.
Common Rebuttals to Nay-Sayers
Some of the most frequent statements by nay-sayers countering the viability of Montréal will likely be of the following nature. One common point that will be brought up is something along the lines of,
"It's cold in Montréal...how can they play in an open air stadium without a roof?"
It is stated that Minnesota has a very similar climate to Montréal and the study presents these factoids on the matter,
Average Montreal Temperature during Baseball Season: 15.5 C
Average Minnesota Temperature during Baseball Season: 16.2 C
Look, it's pretty hot here in the summer during baseball season. Yeah in April and October it's going to be cold but less than one degree celcigrade isn't going to be the end of anyone's world.
The Document insists that roofed or retractable-roofed stadium is not needed. The production costs are almost cut by a third by using an open-air model as opposed to a roofed model and the drawbacks to being open air (even in a colder climate) seem to be little if not none.
Nextly, the BIGGEST issue from nay-sayers is going to be that that study suggests the provincial government put up 300 million for building the stadium. Everyone's gonna be all,
"But the bridges are broken! How can you even think of putting money into a ball park!?"
First of all bridges fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government of Canada. It's federal tax dollars that are used to alter infrastructure or to repair bridges. Bridges are not the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
Secondly, look, this is a pretty big business and businesses are taxed by the government. This enterprise will generate quite a lot of tax revenue. How much? The Document projects the following data,
"The government’s share of costs would be recouped through direct tax payments generated in the construction phase ($55.6M) and during each year of operation ($23M annually), as well as by dedicating sales taxes generated annually by stadium activities ($18M) and income tax on part of players’ salaries ($10M)"
The minimum tax they can collect off this in a construction year is 55.6 Million and during an operational year they would get a minimum of 51 Million per year. You don't need to be a genius or a Master Cross Multiplier to figure out how quickly they will recoup the money on their investment. Three hundred divided by and average of 53 million is about six years. Following the sixth year all the 50+ million in tax revenue becomes 100% profit for the government.
The Document even lists measures in the case the provincial government refuses to put in any money (even though they will benefit over 50 million per year from this venture) and also lists several faster methods for the government to recoup its initial investment in the case that it makes a huge deal about making the capital investment back faster than six years. They have all their bases covered ok? These guys are pros.
Mr. Cromartie concluded the press conference today stating that,
"Baseball is a game of history and numbers. Montréal has the history and now Montréal has the numbers."
I made an amateurish projection piece in this blog once (Speculation/Prognostications), but this data in the Ernst and Young report is not speculations...this is HARD DATA. Montréal has legit numbers now that should make both the business community here and MLB take notice.
Mr. Cromartie proceeded to call out to the business community and implored for a "champion" to step up to the plate and make history. Hopefully somebody or a combination of sombodies heeds the call.
Montréal? We got the history, we got the numbers...hey, we got the food, we got the ladies, we got the fresh beats, we got the jams, we got the style....hey, we got it all....we GOT THE TOOLS AND WE GOT THE TALENT!!!!