New Montreal Impact President Looks to Boost Franchise

Montreal Impact

In his role as new Montreal Impact president, Kevin Gilmore will look to boost the club’s revenues while building its recognition throughout the community. 

Gilmore was introduced last month as the Impact’s new president, bringing with him experience that includes tenures with several NHL franchises. He comes to Montreal’s MLS club at an important time, as Impact owner Joey Saputo indicated last fall that the organization has struggled financially for the past several years.

As part of the plans for the Impact going forward, Saputo announced last month that he was stepping down as team president and appointing Gilmore to that position. Gilmore will now look to reverse some of the club’s troubling revenue trends, while positioning the Impact as major-sports brand that better resonates throughout the Montreal market. More from the Montreal Gazette:

Gilmore arrives in the Impact’s top job at a crucial time for the Major League Soccer franchise. Last fall, Saputo went public with a dire portrait of the state of the team’s finances. Saputo said at the time that the team had been losing $12 million a year since entering the MLS in 2012 and he admitted that their 9,000 season-ticket holders were far below the league average (13,500)….

“The first thing I need to do is internally change the culture and bring in confidence, to let people know that we’re not a small team playing in the shadow of an NHL club,” said Gilmore. “We’re a major-league team playing in a big market and we need to start acting that way. We need to shed our second-division skin and start acting like a top MLS club in terms of how we present ourselves in the marketplace. Everything we do has to be first-class.”

Some have criticized the Impact for not being visible enough in the city and it’s not uncommon to hear sports fans say they have never visited Saputo Stadium.

“If you look at all the MLS markets, we are second to Toronto in terms of soccer fans per capita,” said Gilmore. “So the interest is there. The profile might not be, but that’s our job to raise our profile. We need to take our place in the market. We need to get more people into Saputo Stadium to experience it. Obviously, success on the field drives success off the field. Our coach (Rémi Garde) is very encouraged by what he sees this year and you look at our second half last year, we were a good team. It was the start of the season that hurt us.”

The Impact will be looking to build more inroads in the Montreal community, and Gilmore comes to club with a background that includes a stint as chief operating officer of the Montreal Canadiens from 2011-2016. In addition, his time as a sports executive includes prior runs with two other NHL clubs–the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.

Image courtesy Montreal Impact.

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