Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So That $40M MLS Expansion Fee Was Negotiable

Remember when MLS first announced it was awarding two additional expansion clubs and that the price was going to be $40M for each club? Yeah, Montreal does, too.

It appears that despite pronouncements to the contrary the expansion fee was negotiable. Buried in this story about the Portland to MLS campaign missing one key ingredient--full funding--is the fact that Merritt Paulson, the Timbers owner, negotiated a discount on the expansion fee.

Paulson also paid a $35 million franchise fee to Major League Soccer.
Montreal's bid was kicked to the curb by MLS in November for attempting to do the same thing Paulson did--negotiating the expansion fee--only from the outset.

I wonder if MLS regrets this move after seeing the 55,000 fans for a CONCACAF Champions League match involving an USL club? I bet it does.


Shawn said...

I bet it doesn't. Saputo was willing to $18 million. Vancouver and Portland paid $35m. MLS begged Montreal to come in 2005 for $10m. Saputo held a press conference to say it wasn't worth it. Garber will let the Impact in during the next round of expansion provided they pay the $40m or $50m and if Joey Saputo stops being an idiot.

Jason D said...

Shawn beat me too it. Knocking $5 million off in deference to the economy is a hell of a lot different than accepting the massive discount Saputo wanted. Now, if Paulson had asked that his part of the stadium renovation be knocked off the expansion fee, then we're talking about a similar situation. Since that's not the case, the league obviously did the right thing, no matter what L'Impact de Montreal supporters will tell you.

More interesting with Portland is the ongoing issue of the $15 million shortfall in the stadium renovation plan. It's not clear who has to come up with that cash, and it wouldn't be very good if things can't go foward because of it.

The Fan's Attic said...

I have no idea what sort of discount Montreal wanted, but as part of a negotiation I'm sure they would have gotten more money out of them.

As it stands, I don't think Portland will ultimately be able to finance this project. the money just isn't there and I think that the political will won't be there either.