Could NBA Basketball Thrive In Montreal?

The idea of bringing an NBA team to Montreal has been a topic of discussion among basketball enthusiasts and sports analysts for years. As one of Canada’s largest and most vibrant cities, Montreal possesses a unique blend of cultural diversity, sports enthusiasm, and urban energy that could make it an ideal candidate for NBA expansion. But the question remains: would an NBA franchise work in Montreal?

Montreal’s Sports Culture

Montreal boasts a rich sports culture with passionate fan bases for hockey, soccer, and Canadian football. The Montreal Canadiens, the city’s NHL team, are a storied franchise with a deeply loyal following. Additionally, CF Montreal, the city’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team, has been steadily growing in popularity. This established sports culture indicates a community that values and supports its teams, suggesting that there is potential for an NBA team to find a strong fan base.

Basketball Popularity in Canada

Basketball has seen a surge in popularity across Canada, particularly after the Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA Championship win in 2019. This victory ignited a nationwide passion for the sport, increasing viewership and participation at grassroots levels. Montreal, with its large population and diverse communities, is no exception to this trend. The city has produced several notable NBA players, such as Chris Boucher and Luguentz Dort, demonstrating that there is both talent and interest in basketball within the region.

Potential Market and Economic Impact

Montreal is a major metropolitan area with a population of over four million people, providing a substantial market for an NBA team. The city’s diverse demographics, including a significant number of young professionals and students, align well with the NBA’s target audience. Moreover, the city’s vibrant nightlife, cultural scene, and tourism industry could attract both local and visiting fans to games.

Economically, an NBA team could provide significant benefits to Montreal. The introduction of a new sports franchise could create jobs, boost local businesses, and increase tourism. The construction of a state-of-the-art arena, if needed, would generate additional economic activity. Moreover, the presence of an NBA team could enhance Montreal’s profile on the international stage, further solidifying its reputation as a world-class city.

Challenges and Considerations

While the potential benefits are substantial, there are also challenges to consider. Montreal’s winters are harsh, and ensuring high attendance during the coldest months could be difficult. Additionally, the presence of the Montreal Canadiens, a dominant force in the city’s sports landscape, means an NBA team would need to carve out its own niche and avoid scheduling conflicts.

Financially, the costs associated with acquiring and operating an NBA team are considerable. Ownership would need to demonstrate a strong commitment and substantial investment. Moreover, ensuring long-term fan engagement and maintaining competitive performance on the court are critical for sustaining interest and support.


The prospect of an NBA team in Montreal is an exciting one, filled with both potential and challenges. The city’s rich sports culture, growing basketball enthusiasm, and substantial market size suggest that an NBA franchise could thrive in Montreal. However, careful planning, significant investment, and strategic efforts to engage the community would be essential to overcome the hurdles and ensure the team’s success.

If Montreal were to welcome an NBA team, it could herald a new era of sports entertainment in the city, uniting fans and fostering a deeper appreciation for basketball. Whether through expansion or relocation, the idea of NBA basketball in Montreal remains a captivating possibility worth exploring.

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