Saputo Stadium ready to rock June 16 debut
MONTREAL - Montreal's field of dreams has long been a downtown baseball stadium, but a new-and-improved soccer stadium in the east end might be the next best thing.
The Montreal Impact brass proudly offered a tour of the renovated Saputo Stadium Friday.
The government provided $23-million for the facelift, which expands capacity to 20,341. Team President Joey Saputo crowed that the job was done on budget.
"The final costs are not in yet but it's important to understand we did not go back to the government for more money," said Impact President Joey Saputo.
Saputo, whose family is one of Canada's richest thanks to its success in the cheese business, says coziness will be a factor.
"The ambience is going to be incredible. The sound is going to bounce off the roof and bounce back in so you won't lose the roar of the crowd. Also you will notice there is not a bad seat in the house. The sight lines are fantastic. You're very close to the field," said Saputo.
All 34 luxury boxes, up from the previous 16, have been sold. And tickets might also end up getting all gobbled up if people aren't quick at the gate.
The team might return to the adjacent Olympic Stadium for playoff games or other big events with a great demand for tickets.
Meanwhile, earlier Friday a rumour had emerged that the team had been itching to sign yet another aging Italian soccer star, this time in the form of Alessandro Del Piero, 37, of Juventus.
Saputo denied the possibility of inking Del Piero when grilled by journalists Friday.
Another rumour reported by the Canadian Press suggested that the Impact might be finished with Bernardo Corradi, another Italian forward.
Corradi's four-month contract has finished but Saputo said the team would like to sign another deal with the striker.
With a file from The Canadian Press