By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
We asked 500 residents of the greater Montreal area to tell us how they feel about the idea of bringing a Major League Baseball franchise back to the city. Here’s what we found:
The level of support for the idea is very broad, including 16% who say they “love” the idea, another 23% who “really like” it, and 18% who “like” the idea. Another 31% said they were ok with the idea. Only 12% are opposed. Opposition is minimal among all demographic subgroups, while enthusiasm is highest among those 45-59.
When asked if they would buy tickets to see games, the results suggest a solid level of interest. We found that 2% (assuming a total adult population of 2.6 million – 2% is 52,000 people) said they would buy season’s tickets.
Another 10% (roughly 260,000 people) say they would buy tickets to more than 10 games.
19% say they would buy tickets to 5 -10 games. 25% say they would buy tickets to less than 5 games. In total 56% say they would be ticket buyers, and 44% would not.
This suggests a pool of 1,456,000 potential buyers who express an interest in up to 12.5 million game tickets, without including any tickets purchased by visitors to Montreal from other parts of Quebec, or beyond.
Naturally, these estimates are expressions of sentiment rather than firm commitments. Still, to put these numbers in a perspective, the top drawing MLB team in 2014 was the LA Dodgers, who sold 3,782,337 tickets. The Tampa Bay Rays, have had the weakest attendance in recent years, and sold less than 1.5 million tickets in 2014.
Regardless of whether they would attend games, the large majority (72%) support the efforts of Mayor Denis Coderre to attract a Major League Baseball franchise to the city.
Support for the idea of a local franchise is based on more than affection for baseball alone. 79% believe “a major league franchise in Montreal would be good for the local economy” and (78%) believe “a Major League Baseball franchise would generate more taxes for the city”.
Major sports franchises can be controversial subjects in some circumstances, but the idea of bringing Major League Baseball back to Montreal is a political winner for Mayor Denis Coderre.
More than half of area residents imagine attending games and 8 in 10 think the idea would be good for the economy and the tax base of the city.
According to Abacus Chairman Bruce Anderson:
“The desire for big league ball in Montreal is bigger than a phenomena of former Expos fans lamenting that team’s departure. While the economics of a franchise and a new stadium are undoubtedly complex, there should be little doubt about whether most Montreal residents like this idea. There’s clearly more enthusiasm than skepticism about what this could do for the city and its sports fans.
While major league franchises may count on ticket sales for roughly half of their revenue needs, and corporate purchases, advertising, TV rights and sponsorships for the remainder, a large fan base is a good predictor of healthy revenues from all these other sources.”
The survey was conducted online with a total of 500 residents of the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area aged 18 and over from June 18 to 25, 2015.
A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.
The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 500 is +/- 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched to Montreal CMA’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and subregion. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
Abacus Data Inc.
We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.