The record of the return of major league baseball to Montreal and Quebec seems to be a project still far. Something of which one says that it is coming may be…
Stephen Bronfman has news for the fans. For simple lovers of sports. For citizens (and citizens !) Quebec and the country. And the first message is simple and easy to understand : “We now have the foot on the gas ! It darkens ! ”
And brace yourself firmly, what you will read will you stick to your chair.
Nothing like Jeffrey Loria
We no longer talk of years. It is only if one holds to speak of weeks. But Stephen Bronfman speaks bluntly of the month.
“Within a few months, three or four, without a doubt, our Montreal group will become a co-owner of the team of Tampa with Stuart Sternberg, the current owner of the Rays. The negotiations are very advanced. We will become minority shareholders, but that does not bother us absolutely not. Stuart Sternberg is a human right that has nothing to do with Jeffrey Loria [former owner of the Expos], ” says Mr. Bronfman.
Stephen Bronfman poses in his Montreal office with the Rawlings Wilson, a knight made of baseball gloves brands, Rawlings and Wilson. The piece was designed by Brian Jungen, an aboriginal artist from British Columbia.
Clearly, Quebec will be back in the ownership of a team in major league baseball by the month of June. May be before.
It should be understood that these hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested in a plan negotiated and agreed to by the partner of the Tampa, Stuart Sternberg. And it is only after the acceptance of the overall project “of a team for two cities” by major league baseball and the office of the commissioner, Rob Manfred that everything will become official.
Deposit in 10 months
You want that all documents and plans are filed in major league baseball before the end of the year 2020. This is not in 10 years, that is in 10 months.
“The truth is that it is in the details. We have goals, and a program, and it is the same thing in Tampa. It’s going to drag a little, there are so many things to do, but we know what we need to do. Them in Tampa, there is a regular season to prepare, but there is a person released 100% to the project. “Full focus” with us, ” said Mr. Bronfman.
And what is encouraging even more, is that the commissioner Manfred has advanced and supported.
“He hath made of himself, no one has put words in the mouth even if Stuart Sternberg sits on the executive of major league baseball,” said Mr. Bronfman.
The following things
Once the shareholders agreement is set, it tumbles. So in Tampa than in Montreal.
We will end up with a completely new concept in professional sports. People talk about shared custody, but Stephen Bronfman and Stuart Sternberg prefer to use the expression ” a team for two cities “.
This new training that has no name yet will work to develop two markets. Mr. Bronfman and his associates will be co-owners in both Montreal and Tampa. But it is Quebecers who will be responsible for the Montréal market. Again, the schedule is tight.
“We will in parallel work with the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, acquire in association with [the sponsor] Devimco the land to be decontaminated, to work on the zoning changes, prepare the plans of the stadium, find architects, to reach agreements with sponsors and broadcasters, and to file the major league baseball and the commissioner at the end of the fall. This is huge, this is a completely new concept and we are going to venture out on the seas, which are not explored. It is very exciting, ” said Mr. Bronfman.
Once again, it is necessary to take the time to read. It wants to as early as the summer to reach agreements in principle with the major broadcasters, either RDS or TVA Sports. And to conclude an agreement for the radio station, while developing the web. We want Quebecers to discover “their” players and know them by the major media as soon as possible.
Not in 10 years, the next summer.
And the plan provides that all documents would be filed before the end of the year 2020.
One team, two cities
Within three or four months, Stephen Bronfman and his group in quebec back in the sport of baseball by purchasing units of the Tampa Bay Rays to start the large project of a club for two cities.
- While fine-tuning the details of the agreement of co-ownership of the team, we will settle the case of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal, the important work of the decontamination of the land, the preparation of the plans of the new stadium…
- During this time, in the summer, Bronfman and his deputies will negotiate contracts with new sponsors, partners and major networks.
- In parallel, similar work will be conducted in Tampa.
- The objective of the new group formed by Stuart Sternberg, the majority, and of Stephen Bronfman and his associates, in the minority, is to file in the office of the commissioner all the documents before the end of 2020. Including the plans of the architects.
From the first shovelful of earth, there must be a minimum of 30 months to construct and fit out a stadium.
Somewhere in June 2024, we could hear the traditional” Play Ball near the Peel basin…
The stadium will be built in a huge property complex which will include thousands of condos, social housing, shops, green spaces and community centres. A project of several billion dollars.
They are gone, looks like Rodger Brulotte, they come back…
“THE BUZZ is GOING to BE THERE, That’S for SURE”
Stephen Bronfman talks about “demystifying” the project team for two cities : “We buy shares in a business. We are going to build all the stages in the two markets. “
“Stuart Sternberg [majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays] has always been honest. Since the beginning, several years ago, he told me that he didn’t want to launch balloons and listen at the same time, San Antonio or in another city, ” says Mr. Bronfman.
“And I want to be clear, this is not a story of shared custody, which hides on a permanent transfer in a few years. We believe in this project. It’s been already 16 years that we lost the Expos, we don’t want to make the mistake again of missing the opportunity. Montreal is a great city for events. Well, we will be creating events with the visit of the Yankees [New York], Red Sox [Boston], [the Blue Jays] Toronto, the buzz will be there, that’s for sure, ” says the montreal businessman.
And then, it will remove a lot of pressure on the owners to try to sell 81 parts with the spring and the autumn that Montreal has. Especially that one day, the Canadian is going to end up in the playoffs.
Better than a club expansion
Stephen Bronfman is resumed. “But in addition, I find that the project is really montreal. In the sense that fans will be able to follow their players from the training camp via the media and that in June, when all the world is going to come in town, it’s going to be the time of the feast. We are entering a team which is already well established, which has 80 employees, who participated in the series. ”
Outfielder Austin Meadows, who has hit 33 circuits last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, could evolve one day into a new stadium in Montreal, near the Peel basin.
“This is better than a team expansion that would have cost at least $ 2 billion even before the first game. It would have been hardly realistic, even for me. In the United States, there are several business men who can put 2 or$ 3 billion to buy a team. We talk about$ 3 billion for the Food [in New York]. But in Québec, find this money, it is a very big risk. I would have had to bear enormous stress. With this new concept, we are entering a family where everyone gets along well. And the time to build the stadium will allow us to tame the concept, demystify and explain the profit that can be made for the city, ” Mr. Bronfman.
A new stadium could see the light of day in Montreal, near the Peel basin (circled in yellow on the photo).
This will not be the Expos nor the Rays
The fans always speak of the return of the Expos. Let’s be clear, the new entity is not called the Expos. Neither the sun’s Rays.
“We don’t know how to call the new team. Maybe we’ll do like [the Québécois] Mitch Garber does in Seattle with the hockey and begin a great popular contest. We will probably hire an agency. But we will find out the name all together and people will adopt it. Need to understand, this is a new team which, it is hoped, will also help to bring two cities and two markets. Tampa, it’s beautiful, St. Petersburg, it is wonderful. And it is less expensive than on the east coast, ” said Stephen Bronfman.
He can already imagine that entrepreneurs will attempt to offer charter flights to Tampa in order to allow supporters to travel to support the club in the playoffs.
“We will be able to split the games, or organise trips for fans. Everything is possible, this is new, ” he says with enthusiasm.
But he repeats that we are going to sail into unknown waters. It can be scary to some, but it is the very exciting adventure.
“It is certain that we will do a mini-gaffes. But I think people are going to find the beautiful. I think it’s going to be a project of all the world. And that we will create for you, My Love, ” he says.
The team logo could be a palm tree planted in the snow…
Negotiate with the players association
But how the new owners of the “Snowbirds Montreal-Tampa” are they going to convince the players ‘ association has to give its approval to the project ?
In the background, just to throw a glance in the office of Stephen Bronfman at Claridge Investment, to identify some elements of the solution. You can see pictures and objects reminiscent of Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and all the others. All of the players who have loved their years in Montreal.
“It is like all negotiations. We will talk, we will negotiate and we will put up the money. It should deal with the situation. It should not be forgotten that the players will arrive after the end of classes in Tampa, their apartment or their house is going to be waiting in Montreal. Hey ! They’re coming to spend the summer in a fabulous city that is teeming with life. There are worse in life. In the background, we will offer the best of both worlds. The winter in Florida and summer in Montreal, ” he says.
“And I think that the [ex-Expos] are going to be a pleasure to meet the players to tell them how they loved their years with us. They are believable, they all liked Mont-
real and Quebec, ” said Mr. Bronfman.
Gigantic real estate project
We talk about baseball, but the business men speak mainly of towers to condos and large estate projects.
Even some radio hosts had a hypothesis : the baseball was a key to develop condos.
Stephen Bronfman disclaims, without being disconcerted. “The joint project will assist the baseball and the baseball is going to help the real estate. The City wants it, our partner Devimco wants and we hope that everything will go well. We’re talking thousands and thousands of condos, social housing, parks, schools, entertainment venues. And there will be live performances at the stage. Time and again, I’m going out on the land and I look out at the city. The view is beautiful. The whole city centre is there,
before our eyes, ” he says.
He adds : “It is a big project. This is more than the business. I don’t want to lose money, that’s obvious, but if I wanted to strictly do business, I could invest in projects that are less complex. But this is baseball, this is Montreal, Quebec and it is the sport in the country. It is a human project. ”
“It’s new, it’s fun, it’s achievable,” he concludes.