When Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk undertakes a project, you'd hate to bet against a man with "deep pockets, an acute sports marketing acumen, plus energy and creativity," says an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen. That's why there's "a very good chance" that his plan to bring Major League Soccer to the Canadian city will succeed.
Still, there are questions about his plan to have a future Ottawa soccer team playing at a 30,000-capacity stadium in Kanata near Scotiabank Place: "Smart-growth planning principles would lead one to suggest that the stadium would be better located downtown to make use of existing services. And in a high-cost petroleum universe, not to mention its environmental inter-relationship, that long drive to Kanata is a bit problematic."
The paper also wonders if the Ottawa sports market, "thin gruel at the best of times," can support another team. "The football Rough Riders/Renegades couldn't find enough support in the community. The baseball Lynx can now be found roaming a diamond in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The jury is out on the Rapidz [base]ball team." There is also the question of the existing Lansdowne Park "and the proposed new Canadian Football League franchise. One wonders if Ottawa can support or needs two major outdoor venues."
Melnyk's MLS bid creates as many questions as it answers, "but when it is all said done," concludes the editorial, "we wish the entrepreneur great success with his quest. Soccer could be a lot of fun."