Friday, September 12, 2008

Still dreaming of the Ontario Derby

The MLS to Ottawa story may seem, well, insane, but it won't go away. Details were limited today--they're coming Tuesday--but Eugene Melnyk made it clear that he is still interested in getting into the footy game.

Again, it doesn't seem remotely possible that Ottawa will be one of the two teams named, but, then again, Melnyk isn't a stupid man. He must have some indication that MLS is taking the bid seriously.

With the turf at Montreal's Cheese Curd Stadium suddenly not looking so state of the art (and the stands still very much looking slightly less impressive than a Texas high school football stadium) maybe the Impact's imminent move to MLS isn't such a sure thing. The truth is, Montreal's only real advantage over its two Canadian rivals is/was its stadium.

MLS can be an odd league sometimes. So, it would be foolish to completely discount the efforts. If Melnyk can get the shovel into the ground before the other prospective teams...

Why not?

An off the wall idea to think about:

Maybe Ottawa's efforts are a result of a private conversation MLS commissioner Don Garber had with Melnyk where it was revealed that the league's long term plan was to either A) create MLS2 and implement some form of a promotion/relegation system. Or B) create MLS Canada, an all-Canadian league affiliated with MLS (the top MLS Canada teams would enter into the MLS Cup playoffs and there would be some interleague games played each season).

It's crazy talk, really. But, then again so is the idea of Ottawa in MLS.


Anonymous said...

According to today's Ottawa Business Journal, Melnyk's people have picked out a site for his proposed stadium and will announce it at Tuesdays press conference.
Where might it be?

Mr Melnyk is a very determined guy as well as a rich one (estimated to be worth 1.4 billion) He must have something up his sleeve, or he would not waste his time on this venture.
Will he go ahead and build a stadium in the hope of landing the MLS? Use it for US soccer league in the meantime, or some other sporting venture?


Ih8neateclub said...

An all-Canadian league would go over like a lead soccer ball.

As for the site, there's still a lot of cornfields out in Kanata. Maybe Melnyk wants his own CFL team too!

Anonymous said...

I would have to think that if another Canadian MLS franchise is granted, Montreal would be a lock.
First and foremost, Montreal has the venue and a proven fan base.
Montreal's new stadium can be expanded to a capacity similar to BMO in Toronto..
Also, Montreal has proximity not only to Toronto but other key MLS franchises like New England.
I know Mr. Melnk is a pretty determined guy, but the odds are hugely against him at this point...then again, nobody ever thought Jean Drapeau would have bagged the Olympics for Montreal.

Anonymous said...

Montreal's stadium can be expanded, but will it be? In other words, will someone dig into their pockets and pay to do it. Apparently now the MSL requires new franchises to have a 22,00-30,000 seater, which is bigger than BMO. Plus the franchise fee for a MSL team is 40 million , which also has to come out of someone's pocket. Money makes the world go around, money talks, and we know Mr Melnyk's money is talking. Who is in Montreal?

The media is now saying that Eugene's stadium will be on a piece of land near ScotiaBank Place. Land that Mr. Melnyk has already purchased.

Anonymous said...

Who is in Montreal, you ask?
Ever heard of the Saputo family?
They made a lot of dough selling a lot of cheese.
It's their name on that "state-of-the-art" soccer stadium, because they own it.
Not only that, they have partnered with George Gillete, owner of Les Canadiens,..and co-owner of Liverpool FC, BTW.
Heavy enough hitters for you?
Don't worry about where the money will come from in Montreal...that's the least of anybody's worries in that town.

Anonymous said...

My billionaire is better thean your billionaire.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

There's far too much mention of Ottawa and Montreal MLS expansion in these comments. Vancouver! Vancouver!

[/West Coast bias]

Seriously though, Ottawa may not be as much of a long shot as we all thought at first, and Duane did a nice job of pointing that out. It would be great to eventually see three or four Canadian teams in MLS.

Mike said...

I completely discounted the notion of Ottawa at first but Duane does raise some good points! I would say that Montreal is more deserving than Ottawa and have already proven themselves - and to be totally honest, with the way Ottawa sports fan have supported their teams in the past, this may actually become a big issue - but when it comes down to it I could see Ottawa with a team.

And then of course Vancouver is pretty much a given!

sager said...

Last year this time, most people in Ottawa couldn't have told you want MLS stands for ... they're late on this bandwagon, just like they were with Triple-A baseball, and we know how that worked.

Melnyk would be better off trying to acquire a third major junior hockey team for the city.