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Impact unveils stadium renovation plan

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Joey Saputo
The Montreal Impact announced its plan to transform Stade Saputo into an MLS-ready facility.

Owner Joey Saputo lifted the curtain on a plan to increase the stadium’s capacity from 13,034 to 20,431. The plan calls for 3,500 seats in a new west grandstand and 1,250 additional seats in the southeast and southwest corners. Another 1,000 seats will be installed in the east grandstand.

But, as is the case in a lot of small, intimate soccer facilities, the better seats are the ones that will be further up from the playing surface than right on the touchlines. A new roof will be built, meaning that nearly 7,000 of the seats will be under cover. Of course, those will be the ones near the top of the existing stands, while the west grandstand looks to be completely sheltered.

Richard Legendre, left, and Joey Saputo show off the artists rendition of the renovated Stade Saputo. PHOTO: Montreal Impact
Of course, the refurbished stadium will be a lot more attractive to the Canadian national-team program, as well.

“The Saputo Stadium was already beautiful, but now it will be magnificent,” said Richard Legendre, executive vice president of the Montreal Impact and Saputo Stadium, in release. “The new roof will add to the ambiance, while the stadium’s newfound symmetry will make it even more charming. In the new stadium, every single fan will still have an excellent view of the action on the field.”

Because the MLS season is longer than the NASL season, it’s a good move. Montreal will host games earlier in the spring and later into the autumn when it makes the move from NASL to MLS in 2012. Montreal presents greater risk of nasty weather in March and October than Toronto or Vancouver.

The team announced that season-ticket packages for the inaugural MLS season will run from $250-$1,250 per seat. Existing NASL season-ticket holders can reserve their seats for 2012 for $50.

Sources have indicated that Montreal has already stated interest in hosting the MLS All-Star Game.

Quebec taxpayers will spend $23 million on the stadium upgrades. Work will begin in May, during the NASL schedule, but the team states most of the grunt work will be done in the fall. The team doesn’t expect to have to reduce the current capacity for NASL games to accommodate construction.

“During the construction period, we will do everything possible to limit the inconveniences it may cause our fans over the course of the 2011 season,” said Legendre.

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