Despite passing what he calls an important first test, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says more is needed besides one strong turnout from fans before Major League Baseball returns permanently to the city.
"You're witnessing it, that something big is [happening] here, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that right away like that you’re going to get a team. it means you passed the test: the test of the people," said Coderre last night while attending an exhibition game at Olympic Stadium between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.
A crowd of 46,121 people attended the exhibition matchup, the first of two games this weekend in Montreal.
While Coderre says Montreal's business leaders were paying attention to last night's turnout, it has to be the private sector showing the initiative to finance a new team in order for a franchise to come to Montreal.
"First and foremost we have to take a look at the feasibility study [prepared last December] then the private sector has to get [involved]," he said.
According to the feasibility study prepared by the Montreal Baseball Project in collaboration with Ernst & Young and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, $1.05 billion is required to return the Expos to Montreal, including costs for a new stadium. $377 million would come from government investment, and the rest from private investors.
A second match up between the Jays and the Mets begins this afternoon at 1:05 p.m., broadcasting live on CJAD's sister station, TSN 690.
The Expos, which became Canada's first major league team in 1969, left Montreal in 2004 and the franchise was moved to Washington.