Pierre Karl Péladeau has all the ingredients for success as the new owner of the Montreal Alouettes, but he will have to have the right recipe to achieve it.
This is what Larry Smith, former president of the Alouettes on two occasions, concludes. The one who also served as commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL) welcomed the announcement of the acquisition of the Montreal club by the Quebec businessman.
Mr. Smith, who has made no secret of his community-oriented vision of football, is delighted that a local owner has acquired the Alouettes. “This guy is a real Quebecer,” he exclaimed of Mr. Péladeau during a videoconference.
With his usual good humor, Larry Smith explains the two qualities that a club owner in the CFL must have.
First, the local aspect. No need to recall the nationalist fiber that has already animated Mr. Péladeau, former leader of the Parti Québécois. You can then check this box in the list. Second, the owner must be enthusiastic so that his passion is contagious.
Larry Smith ends by adding a third element: patience.
“It won’t be easy at first. It needs patience. It’s going to be a three-year rebuild. When I started as president of the Alouettes, I had asked owner Bob Wetenhall for five years to get good results,” he explains.
What also makes the former Montreal Gazette editor so excited about the arrival of Mr. Péladeau is not only that he has “good financial capacity”, but also that he comes with an empire. media.
Mr. Péladeau, also President and CEO of Quebecor, will certainly want to promote the team on its platforms. The rights to CFL matches in French belong to the RDS network until the end of the 2026 season. A situation that Larry Smith likes.
Ultimately, Mr. Smith is pleased with the arrival of Mr. Péladeau and believes that this announcement fits well with the values of the CFL, a league that runs on local pride.
Larry Smith was president of the Alouettes twice, from 1997 to 2001 and then from 2004 to 2010. Under his reign, the team hosted two Gray Cup finals in Montreal and was crowned champion in 2009 and 2010. She also had a streak of over 100 consecutive sold-out games.
Since then, the club has not made it to the Gray Cup final or hosted it.
So could he consider a third term as president? “Today I’m playing with my dog,” he laughs. But still ?
He then explains the challenges that Mr. Péladeau will face upon taking office. That the new owner will have to make an evaluation of his team. Senator since 2010, he continues with a plea in favor of the relevance of the Senate. He simply concludes by saying that he is “in a situation that is very interesting” for him at the moment.
This non-response suggests that the door is not closed. It may not be wide open, but let’s say it is ajar.
Along with the Toronto Argonauts, the Alouettes are the only CFL team not to have maintained an average fan base above 20,000 last year. Logically, rebuilding the bond with the fans should be the priority of the new president and Mr. Péladeau, according to Larry Smith.
He adds that the club must not only be good on the pitch, that “to be a good business” the team must also have an increased presence in the community.