Published on January 6, 2020 9:02 PM by dbo.
S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern, have purchased the Montreal Alouettes franchise from the CFL. The Ontario entrepreneurs with steel plant and real estate holdings in Quebec and self-proclaimed CFL fans for life vow to fund the team as a first-class operation to restore it to success on and off the field. Their first order of business is hiring a bilingual president and general manager to guide the club. The video of the announcement is worth a watch to those concerned with the details.
The story of how these two never-before mentioned business persons became the owner’s of the Alouettes is interesting indeed. The seeds of the idea were planted at Stern’s annual Grey Cup party attended by soon-to-be CFL chairman Dale Lastman. When Stern and Spiegel (Stern’s father-in-law) started discussing how fun it would be to own a team, Lastman reminded them the Alouettes were available. This led to a formal expression of interest three weeks ago that moved quickly to the point of Stern meeting with president and GM candidates over the past few weeks and the CFL dismissing Patrick Boivin from the president/CEO role on Friday to pave way for today’s announcement.
The fact that flashy, public candidates were not successful in their bids to become Alouette owners may be a disappointment to some feeling their local connections, youth or other attributes are what team needs. It is clear from the commissioner that nothing prevented any group from becoming owners except funding, and the need to recruit investors. Having a club with two owners is much more preferable than ten or twenty owners. As always, those that can come to the table with the franchise price tag and financial resources to carry the club for a few years win, those looking for a club at a bargain basement price and believe they can fund the operation off of ticket sales are rebuffed and must look for investors. Wanting the team, and going to the media to express your interest doesn’t make you a worthy candidate.
A footnote in the announcement is the new ownership group’s promise to improve facilities and recognizing that the current stadium options are not long-term viable for the team. How this could play with Stephen Bronfman’s plan for a MLB team and stadium in Montreal is unknown. Bronfman and Pierre Boivin of Claridge Investments were rumoured in early December to be involved in a possible investment group for the team and previously indicated the Alouettes would be welcome to play at the new stadium. Whether the new owners, outsiders to Montreal, will be able to forge a meaningful partnership with this or another initiative to improve stadium facilities will be key to their long-term success in leaving a financially stable team.