You can add Montreal to the list of cities that might be interested in landing a National Basketball Association franchise sometime in the future. A Montreal business leader apparently met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in January to find out what the NBA is thinking in terms of expansion according to a published report.
Silver told Montreal Canadiens Vice President Kevin Gilmore that the league is staying put at 30 teams for the time being ruling out expansion. Silver has one potential trouble spot that needs attention, the Milwaukee Bucks ownership could turn over the franchise to the league in 2018 without a new building in the city. There could conceivably be three cities interested in landing the Bucks franchise, Seattle which could construct an arena if an NBA team is available, Louisville which has a building but the arena lease is controlled by the University of Louisville and now Montreal. Montreal is a big market but there are plenty of questions surrounding the depth of the market starting with Canadian dollar as the loonie is struggling to stay at being 80 cents compared to the American greenback. There is an arena, there might be a good local cable TV deal but there is the question of currency. Montreal has hosted a few pre-season basketball games over the years. Most of the corporate money in Montreal goes to the NHL Canadiens, whatever is left over for sports spending is earmarked for the local Canadian Football League franchise, the Montreal Major League Soccer team and the Canadian Grand Prix. There is also a junior hockey team in the suburbs.
Montreal is also making a push to bring back Major League Baseball to the city and city officials would like to schedule a three or four game series in town in July 2016. There questions that Montreal has to answer for permanent teams in baseball and basketball is pretty simple. Is the market wealth enough to afford it?
Mr. Evan Weiner is a sports journalist/commentator known for his columns about the business and politics of sports. He was the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award.