Quebecor’s efforts to bring a National Hockey League team back to Quebec City are on the right track, says a University of Laval Marketing expert.
“For 15 years, we’ve been talking about the return of a professional (hockey) team, but no enterprise has been as methodical during the process (as Quebecor),” said Andre Richelieu, who is conducting a survey on behalf of Quebecor to gauge the possibility of bringing an NHL team back to the city.
“A corporation does its homework and, in my opinion, Quebecor is in the process of doing what is necessary to not only see if a hockey team should return to Quebec City, but also to see if one can survive in the long term,” added Richelieu. “And to assure that a team can survive longer than its first years, it is important to see to what point people are willing to spend on large calibre event tickets in the new NHL.”
Other than collecting financial information, Richelieu said conducting the survey sends a message.
“Both financially as strategically, Quebecor is very efficient in its process,” he said, adding that the company has made it known that it is a serious player in the push to relocate an American franchise to Canadian soil.
“(Quebecor) has indicated that Quebec is the place to go.”
Richelieu said the move currently being made by Quebecor also suggests that the new amphitheater project in the city is moving along. Because the construction of a new stadium is closely tied to successfully bringing a team to the city, Quebecor would not have undertaken the study if the possibility of a new arena was unlikely.
“One could believe that it is becoming more concrete, even if we’re talking about it less,” he said.
Many people contacted by QMI Agency, which like Canoe.ca is part of Quebecor's massive publishing empire, also saw the study has a positive step.
Claude Rousseau, president of Equipe Quebec, said such a study not only gauges public opinion on a new team, but also its ability to be successful.
The study, he said, is the most concrete step taken so far on the subject.
Mario Bedar, president of the “I have my place” group, said he is thrilled to see “a serious player showing so much interest” in bringing a franchise back to Quebec City.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity Sam Hamad said that the study was a “positive signal”.
The spokesperson added that the federal government is still waiting for a business plan from Equipe Quebec before making an announcement on whether or not Ottawa would help fund the construction of a new stadium.
Marcel Aubut, the former president and CEO of the Quebec Nordiques, said that the project remains a long-term one.
“(Quebecor president) Pierre Karl Peladeau said it himself,” said Aubut.
In October, Peladeau said he was keeping his eye out for a team to purchase because winning conditions that would make the project a success are becoming more numerous in Quebec’s capital city.