Montreal Impact is striving to build more support from the city’s business community, and could explore Saputo Stadium renovations as part of that push.
Under new team president Kevin Gilmore, who was appointed to the position in January, the Impact has been looking to solidify its standing in the Montreal market. While the club has had some success since beginning MLS play in 2012, a priority that Gilmore and the Impact want to address as they try to bolster the club’s long-term outlook is securing more support from Montreal’s business community.
Part of that objective is generating more sponsorship revenue from the Montreal market, but it could extend into potential Saputo Stadium upgrades. Gilmore, along with Impact owner Joey Saputo and MLS commissioner Don Garber, attended a luncheon in Montreal on Monday, when the need for more corporate support and how renovations could fit into the club’s strategy were discussed. When discussing potential changes to Saputo Stadium, Garber noted the specific need for enhancements to the facility that would entice interest from the region’s business community. More from the Montreal Gazette:
With the exception of key sponsors like the Bank of Montreal, Vidéotron and Saputo Inc., Gilmore said he doesn’t see the corporate support from a sponsorship standpoint that he would expect from the Montreal market. Gilmore, Saputo and Garber all agree Saputo Stadium needs to be renovated to improve the game experience for fans and especially corporate clients while generating more revenue.
“This is a unique market,” Garber said. “The stadium itself was privately funded. The stadium sits on land that is owned by the city. The city has a unique way of taxing private investment on facilities, which I don’t think exists in any other city that I’ve ever travelled to and I’ve been involved in the development of 20 stadiums, bringing billions of dollars in investment.
“It really isn’t about taking the existing stadium and adding more seats,” the commissioner added. “It’s about how do you take a stadium that was appropriate at the time and even (built) before Major League Soccer and provide more amenities for fans and, frankly, more opportunities to engage the corporate community?”
Upgrades that would fit into a strategy of landing more corporate support are not the only changes that the Impact might have to implement at Saputo Stadium, as Garber also spoke of his desire for the club to install a heated field. Saputo Stadium was originally constructed in 2008, when the Impact competed in the NASL, before an expansion for MLS play was completed in 2012.
Image courtesy Montreal Impact.
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