Friday, January 14, 2005


Can I get 5 hosers for my 4 Yankees?

While reading up on the (ill-advised) quest for Esteban Loaiza, I read a quote that interested me.

"Nothing against the city of Montreal, but any time you can add a team to the eighth-largest television market and factor in those ratings that that market can produce, it's a plus," Bell said.

I'm not going to tell you that Montreal is a better TV market, or baseball market, or farmer's market than DC (though maybe if there was such a thing as a cheese and beret market). Instead, the quote got me thinking about where Montreal would fit into the US TV market. Obviously there will be future expansion / moves, the question of whether Montreal will be considered again has a lot to do with it's relative size.

Since television market information for Canada is limited, I'll have to extrapolate from population data. Montreal would rank as something like the 16th largest city in the Canada/US Mega-Country, slightly more coffee drinkers than in Seattle, slightly fewer retirees as in Phoenix. In TV Markets - that would put them somewhere around 12-15.

There are no larger TV markets without a team. Of about the same size - Sacramento (19th) wouldn't have a team beacuse of its proximity to San Fran and Oakland. Which by the way I find curious. Sacramento is about 90 miles from Oakland/SF. That's roughly the same distance between NY and Philly, and Philly and Baltimore, and twice the distance from Baltimore to DC. It should get a look, but it won't - because it's still considered SF/Oak Sphere of Influence. Baseball needs a Boxer Rebellion. (Hey High School World History reference shout out! There ain't no rebellion like a Sugar Mama Boxer Rebellion. yeah, yeeahh!) Orlando is 20th, but I don't like their chances either. If we had some space shifting technology from the 30th century that allowed the Devil Ray and Marlins to play in the same stadium at the same time but with only one audience, there still would be only 12 thousand people there. Florida is the Atlanta of sports states. Then you get to Portalnd (24th), which is a good market but probably 70% the size Montreal.

This seems to indicate that Montreal would get another look soon. Ha! I forgot about the exchange rate. One Canadian is only worth 4/5th an American. Montreal is actually even smaller than Portland! Actually, there are two good reasons why I believe this won't happen. First I think the MLB wants to move West. They want to be on the coast of Tupac and Ice Cube, for the simple reason that they don't want to fit any more teams in the East or the Central. They want to pump up the 4 team West. The second reason is that they want to perpetuate the myth that baseball failed in Montreal (rather than expose the reality of MLB killing it).

Where will baseball eventually end up, giving that expansion/movement is inevitable to some degree? Well Portland is a gimme. It has everything MLB wants. Western Time Zone, no conflicts with nearby teams, a probably sweet deal with the city. I don't believe they'll be in Vegas anytime soon. The gambling is an issue, but not nearly as much as the fact that Vegas is a lousy TV market (because of it's peculiar population make-up and a suburbia consisting of tumbleweeds and iguanas). With Vegas out, it becomes a crapshoot. The Norfolk to Raleigh/Durham to Charlotte corridor becomes an option, as well as Nashville, or Salt Lake City. The sizes of these cities brings up a curious option - Vancouver. It would allow MLB to claim that it didn't give up on Canada and would give it another Western team. Though Seattle might have an issue with this choice.

Making a guess into the future: The next team (for sale or movement) will go to Portland. That I'd put money on. The team after that (expansion usually happens in 2s) well.. if it's expansion I'd say Salt Lake City. (If you think the lack of interest will matter to the MLB, think again. Remember that other cities showed more than DC, but MLB waited till they got the deal they wanted from DC.) If it's a new team (or an eastern city movement) I'd guess Charlotte.

Montréal is a regional Market. French electronic media have increasingly concentrated here over the 15 years or so (the later stages of my quebec city life are populated with the apperance of annoying montreal-based announcers carping about "snow" and "cold" in winter...). In fact, the Canadiens were the first to fully exploit that since the Gilette acquisition. While the core marker is, of course, Montréal, they really revved up the marketing effort in the rest of the province. The RDS deal just cosolidated the whole thing.

The Expos used to understand that. "La caravane des Expos" (Larry Walker Drinking beer in some Tavern in Rimouski! Orlando Cabrera playing softball in the snow on Abraham's Plains in Quebec city!) was a fixture since, well, Rusty Staub time... But then they dumped it during the Loria Years (or is it the MLB years?).

On pure market size, they should get a look, of course. There was some study by a fellow named "Geographer Dan on Baseball Primer/Think Factory/Whatever that came to the exact same conclusion concerning market size...

Let's see what google think of that
There it is.

Killer map too. Forgot about Billy too...

That being said: even if the province offerr 50 million to take the big owe off their hands in 2008, it just won't happen. Is it because they wanna go west? I hope so. Is it because they want to perpetuate some myth? I'm not so sure. They're rutheless businessmen, not shamans... Maybe I'm just in denial.

gotta read that article again.
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