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Do the Montreal Impact have a Stadium Problem?

MLS is one of the fastest growing sports businesses on earth and yet the Montreal Impact still play their home games in a stadium that is below par. Is it time for a change?

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS is one of, if not the, fastest growing sports leagues on earth. In 2018 the MLS was Yahoo Finance’s Sports Business of the Year. The average attendance per game rose, the average ticket prices per game rose and the average stadium revenue also rose.

These facts would seem to demonstrate a growing appetite for the MLS in North America, so then how is it that the Montreal Impact have failed to capitalize?

It should be considered shocking that the Montreal Impact have failed to take advantage of the burgeoning market that they have found themselves in. In this regard, we are the Myspace to the MLS Facebook.

In 2018, the Impact saw the fourth biggest drop in attendance of all the teams in the MLS. That is an embarrassing figure when considering that 2018 was the greatest financial year the MLS has ever seen. However, it gets worse. According to Forbes, in a league with 23 total teams, the Montreal Impact are the 20th most valuable franchise.

Personally, I find this to be utterly ridiculous. Montreal is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in North America and we have extremely passionate fans. So why is it that cities like Orlando, Kansas City and Minnesota are doing better than us?

MLS: Chicago Fire at Montreal Impact
Does Stade Saputo meet the needs of MLS and Impact fans?
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I think we need look no further than Atlanta United. This is a start-up franchise, that took over the MLS in 2018. They delivered both on and off the field. They had the highest average attendance by a country mile with close to 55,000 fans attending each and every match. This is particularly astounding as it happened in a city that has historically struggled to fill their stadiums.

In my opinion, the stadium that they play in was one of the biggest factors for their success. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is magnificent, but, it was not made for Atlanta F.C. it was made for the Atlanta Falcons. Still, Atlanta F.C. was able to capitalize on this new stadium and they made going to their games about more than just watching soccer, they made it an overall experience.

In comparison, the Montreal impact currently have a stadium that allows you to watch the Impact play a live match but not much else. The stadium is rarely, if ever, full. There is little to no protection from potentially adverse weather (which is common in Montreal) and the vibe inside the stadium is inconsistent. Let’s just say that going to Stade Saputo doesn’t really get the blood pumping. The Impact have almost everything they need to build a franchise that could have sustained success. The city is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the food is amazing, the fans are crazy and passionate and the one thing that is missing is a place that truly brings all of this together.

There is no better time than now for the Montreal Impact to build a new stadium. The MLS is on the rise and more importantly, the 2026 World Cup will have some games in Montreal. If the Montreal Impact want to take advantage of the opportunity that their circumstances have presented, a new stadium is not just a want, it is a need.

Poll

What’s your views on Montreal Impact’s Stade Saputo home?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Impact should extend Stade Saputo..
    (56 votes)
  • 43%
    Impact should build a new stadium in Downtown Montreal.
    (81 votes)
  • 12%
    Impact should build a new stadium somewhere, but not necessarily in Downtown Montreal.
    (24 votes)
  • 13%
    Impact should keep Stade Saputo in its current guise, as it remains fit for purpose.
    (26 votes)
187 votes total Vote Now