Quebec Leader Open To Funding A Montreal Baseball Stadium

It would be for a Tampa Bay Rays portion of the schedule.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB’s 30 franchise owners got really good news out of Montreal recently. William Jegher and Richard Epstein, both of Montreal, have registered as lobbyists and plan to meet with Province of Quebec officials to discuss how the province can help out in getting a baseball stadium built in Montreal. Montreal was a problem for Major League baseball more than two decades ago because the then-Montreal Expos franchise owners wanted a new stadium, Major League Baseball took over operations of the team and moved the business to Washington, DC after the 2004 season. There is a Rube Goldberg type notion that MLB could return to Montreal on a part time basis permanently by having the Tampa Bay Rays franchise play games in Tampa or St. Petersburg, Florida for the first few months of the season then shifting to Montreal for the summer months. Quebec Premier François Legault said earlier this week he is open to spending loonies on a baseball park. But the baseball park has to show some return on the loonies.

Quebec got into the sports venue funding business about eight years ago in an effort to land a National Hockey League expansion team in Quebec City for the 2017 season. The province put up a substantial amount of loonies to help with the construction of a Quebec City arena. NHL owners might have been impressed with the building but they were not impressed with Quebec City as a market financially and decided to only take Las Vegas as an expansion site. The Tampa Bay-Montreal plan is odd. MLB told Tampa Bay area business leaders your market is not good enough for us. Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternburg is convinced Montreal is a good part-time market but not full-time home for his team. Money or loonies will talk.

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