By Patrick Desnoyers
I began searching the net regarding the economic impacts of the presence of a Professional sports franchise the city would have. I imagine that the Montreal Baseball Project feasibility study will probably also give answers to this question. However, I still would like to show you the information I gathered. These findings are primarily based on a 1998 study made by the House of Commons, which Denis Coderre was the vice-president, and that can be found here. This study pertains to the impacts of sports in Canada, from amateur to professional levels.
Gross Domestic Product and employment
In 1998, the Montreal Expos were estimated to produce a GDP of 105.3 million dollars, 37,9 million dollars of which would be outside the Montreal urban region. Furthermore, the report of the committee reveals that the Montreal Expos were creating 1252 jobs and from those jobs, 451 jobs were directly related to the revenues coming from outside the city.
If we convert these numbers in 2013 dollars, the GDP generated by this major league baseball franchise in 2013 would have been 142 million dollars, which 51.1 million dollars would come from outside Montreal area.
On the same train of thought, the committee was trying to find the impact the construction of a new downtown stadium in Montreal would have, as discussed before the team was relocated. On the 250 million dollars that were projected back then, the construction of Stade Labatt would have generated 3785 jobs directly and indirectly related to the construction of the stadium. Out of these 250 million dollars, it was said that the private sector would have had to invest 100 million dollars. The construction of the stadium would have raised the GDP of the province to 181 million dollars.
But the study also notes that the revenue generated by professional sports, are not always new money invested by the fans in the economy. These fans would still spend that money elsewhere if the professional sport was not present.
However, what is clear to me is that a Major League Baseball team would be profitable for the city of Montreal and to an extent the province of Quebec. According to the study in 1998, 36% of the revenue from the Montreal Expos was incoming from outside the city of Montreal. Out of the 36% , 11% are revenue generated by tourists coming from outside the province of Quebec. The study also says that 2/3 of tourists have specifically come to see major league baseball and the expos.
The study goes on to examine the media impact of the Montreal Expos. In 1998, the Montreal expos had received over 1 billion prints in various newspapers. This amount of publicity was worth 22 million dollars in 1998. The same amount today would cost more than 30 million dollars. Needless to say, that the city of Montreal was benefiting directly of the “free” publicity.
Another section of the report also discusses tourism, but Canada-wide. It is said that the presence of Major League Baseball in Canada as a worldwide positive impact on Canadian businesses from small to multinationals.
The impact of the Montreal Expos on government income is also not to be frowned upon. The numbers set forth by the study are taken from a 1996 fiscal report of the provincial and federal government. The Expos had generated 20.5 million dollars for the federal government while they had generated 23.3 million for the government of Quebec. In 2013 dollars, these numbers would be approximately 28.6 million for the federal government and 32.5 million for the provincial government.
For the municipal government, the fiscal impact of the Montreal Expos is unknown, but the Toronto Blue Jays were paying 7 million in city tax in 1998 for the Toronto SkyDome., now known as Rogers Centre.
This article does not claim to be a detailed economic study. The dollars of the 1998 period mentioned in this study, have been converted according to the Canada Bank inflation calculator tool that is found here.
It is evident that the impact of a Major League Baseball team in Montreal would be beneficial to the city. The international exposure for the city, the province and even the country is something worth thinking about at all levels of public administrations.