INTRODUCTION: The Montreal Olympic Stadium, which was built despite enormous financial and labour difficulties, has eventually been let to a distillery owned baseball team.
INTRODUCTION: The Montreal Olympic Stadium, which was built despite enormous financial and labour difficulties, has eventually been let to a distillery owned baseball team. For the next three years the stadium will be the home ground for the Montreal Expos.
SYNOPSIS: On Friday (15 April) a new era for the Olympic Stadium opened with the team's first game on their new base. The match, which was against the Philadelphia Phillies, drew a crowd of more than fifty-seven thousand. At the moment the stadium can seat sixty thousand, and that figure will be increased when the temporary stands are opened up.
The guest of honour on the opening day was Mayor Drapeau of Montreal who was so closely involved with the troubles surrounding the construction of the Olympic facilities. Charles Bronfman, the head of the distillery company and the owner of the Expos team, was also there to see his team line up against their opponents.
The Bronfmans bought the Montreal Expos in 1968, and last year they entered into an agreement to lease the stadium from the Olympic Installations Board for the team. The lease lasts for three years and it will cost the team two hundred thousand dollars (GBP116,279 sterling) a year.
The team's holding company also have complete control over the trade concessions in the stadium, including hot-dog stands and beer sales. They will also control and benefit from the advertising inside and outside the stadium. Just the advertising that appears on the electronic scoreboard is expected to produce a hundred thousand dollars (GBP58,000 sterling) for the Government in tax off revenue earned.
Despite the atmosphere of a gala occasion, the Montreal fans were denied the additional pleasure of seeing their team win the big match on the opening day. They were beaten 7-2 by the Philadelphians. But the crowd still seemed to enjoy the match and the stadium.