The Financial Post is reporting that the potential ownership group is "reconsidering" the $40 million franchise fee. Last month, MLS pulled the rug out from the Montreal group after it tried to negotiate the fee down.
Confusing the issue was this statement from the article:
He said his group still expects to pay a $40-million fee if it is selected to join the league..."We know the league is looking for $40 million and we respect that," Mallett said in an interview. "All our financial modelling has been done around the $40 million."
The main concern of the backers is the $350 million price tag on the renovations of BC Place. Although it's as clear as the tap water in Kitchener-Waterloo (seriously, that stuff is vile), it appears that the money people are telling the soccer people that they ain't paying the $40 million unless they can be assured that there won't be a $350 million surprise after they are awarded a team.
Interestingly, the article also talks about the St. Louis group waffling on the $40 million as well. With St. Louis the question has always been around money. So, if there are doubts there, then there is little chance of success (which will be awkward since the announcement of successful bids will likely be made in St. Louis at the draft in January.
Meanwhile, Portland is facing some serious problems securing the public money and the Atlanta bid has never really been that serious about a spot in this round of bidding.
Absurd a month or so ago, the Ottawa bid is looking less and less crazy.
Update: I go into detail on the Portland bid over at The 24th Minute.