Wake Me When They’re Close To A Deal

The Toronto Star was first to publish a story connecting the big wigs at Rogers and the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund talking MLSE shares. It was big news then. La Presse broke the story that Teachers had hired a bank to try to find them a buyer. It was big news then. These daily articles on the subject are not news in any way.

For example, and I don’t mean to pick on the Toronto Star, but look at these 3, yes 3 stories over the last couple of days:

David Olive writes:

“The fans’ interests will not factor into who becomes the next owner of the Leafs, Raptors, F.C. Toronto, the Marlies and the Air Canada Centre.”

Riddle me this Batman, should the Fans interest be a factor? I mean come on! What kind of dribble is this….

Chris Zelkovich, remember him? writes:

“There’s a reason why nobody has published “Buying Sports Franchises for Dummies.”
Again, this isn’t news. In my opinion it’s not even interesting. Remember the classic movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles when Steve Martin finally snaps at John Candy and says “The next time you tell a story, here’s an idea, have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!”

For one, the potential readership isn’t all that big.

“With the sale price around $1 billion, it’s a somewhat limited universe,” said Jack Concannon, a partner in the Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen, which has worked on the sales of several major sports franchises.”

Just wait, there’s more:

Robert Cribb writes:

“The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s announcement last week that it will entertain offers on its 66 per cent of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has transformed months of back-room dealing into what insiders predict will be an intensely-fought auction.

As the MLSE-owned Maple Leafs and Raptors wind down their latest in a string of disappointing seasons, the real action is behind the scenes, where a swelling army of lawyers, accountants and bankers bearing sharpened pencils will descend upon the back rooms of the corporate empire. ”

To which I say:

AND…….

Great photo with Cribb’s story, I like the caption underneath “The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s announced last week that it will entertain offers on its 66 per cent of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.”

So, let’s see, we’ve got Leaf Captain Dion Phaneuf, MLSE team? Check
Andrea Bargnani, MLSE team? Check
Dwayne De Rosario (impressed? thank BBM and Google!), MLSE team? Check
and
Jose Bautista, MLSE team? ummmmm, NO!

“The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s announcement last week that it will entertain offers on its 66 per cent of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has transformed months of back-room dealing into what insiders predict will be an intensely-fought auction.
I like Cribb. He’s a good writer. There is not one fact, one angle in this story that hasn’t been as overplayed as Lebda in a Leaf’s uniform this year. I mean seriously, we’ve heard, read and seen everything in that story almost as often as Brian Burke complimenting John Ferguson Jr. for the opening of the no – trade window should the Leafs not make the playoffs!

As the MLSE-owned Maple Leafs and Raptors wind down their latest in a string of disappointing seasons, the real action is behind the scenes, where a swelling army of lawyers, accountants and bankers bearing sharpened pencils will descend upon the back rooms of the corporate empire.

Ahead lie months of intense investigation by prospective buyers anxious to own the most prized corporate sports property in Canada, with a ballpark price tag of $1.3 billion. ”

The other papers are also beating the drum on this one, but at least when Steve Simmons strikes Jim Balsillie off the list there’s some originality in it.

As you know I like the sports business stories. I really like the sport law stories. Hats off to Ted Wyman for a great piece on the never dying Coyotes saga.

“A Phoenix lawyer says the Goldwater Institute has a good case to get an injunction to block the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes if the deal goes through.

“I’m not so sure that they don’t have a high likelihood of success if they were to try to pursue an injunction,” Blake Whiteman of Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis said on the Breakthrough Sports Show on a Phoenix radio station Friday.”

Old story with a new take. A novel idea. I like it.

As one who toiled in minor league sports for several years I am a big fan. To hear the Mayor of Glendale suggest the possibility of an AHL team to replace the Coyotes is laughable. Has anyone suggested that the price of Coyotes tickets is problematic. Who was it that said, “location, location, location”? If you can’t fill a building with NHL talent at minor league prices, how are you going to do it with minor league talent at minor league prices?

Here’s why I am really surprised. A team is town tonight to play the Leafs. A team, some of you may have heard of from a city called Boston. The two teams play quite often. The two teams, you may of heard, made a trade a couple of years back that was kind of a big deal. The Leafs got a guy, named, ummmm, Phil someone or something. You may have heard that they gave up a couple of high draft picks. Oh wait, they made another deal a couple of weeks back too. Did you hear about that one?

Well, in that one, you. may be interested to know, the Leafs traded a guy who until that time was a career Maple Leaf. This guy, Thomas someone played over 850 games with the Maple Leafs. He was a damn good player, a loyal soldier and a someone the fans really liked. Not only that for several years he refused to waive a no trade clause in his contract. Well, in case you didn’t know, he finally did, after he was told that a new contract wouldn’t be coming his way this off season. Well, that guy happens to be playing his first game in Toronto tonight in a different uniform.

You’d know all of this if the MSM paper publications wrote much about it.

Of course, I have to leave you with the one topic I was sure I’d find EVERYWHERE today:

How will fans react to Kaberle?

I was hoping for the edict not to boo from the press, imploring the fans not to embarrass the rest of us.

Me, if I were at the game, I would tip my hat to Kaberle. He’s earned it.

Too bad there wasn’t much written about the home-coming.

Enjoy a nice Saturday.

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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lt67
lt67
March 19, 2011 11:11 am

I’m sorry to say this is what has become of sports REPORTING. These guys are writers not reporters….they don’t investigate, find interesting pieces of information that the general public doesn’t have / would find interesting. It’s become about getting something out fast, tweet a lot to get followers etc….There needs to be more Arthors, Blair’s and Brunts. I’m happy to hear/read more about the sale of the Teachers shares before a deal is done – but only if there is something intruiging going on…back room deal, maneouvering etc…seriously! Someone get back to investigative reporting….find the scoop, scandle, intrigue.

As for Kaberle….I will be at the game with Mrs. LT…I will stand and applaud. Was one of my favourite players and he deserves a heartfelt welcome back from the city. A piece in the paper today would have been nice.

Happy Kaberday everyone!

mario
March 19, 2011 12:50 pm

@Lt67

Well said… could not agree more…
Wake me up when there is real news on the sale….

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 19, 2011 1:22 pm

There needs to be more Arthors, Blair’s and Brunts

two of those three write opinion columns. that’s not really a good paradigm for investigative journalism, in my view. it’s mostly about giving a take on an issue. i doubt much personal research goes in to those columns.

real journalism seems to be on the decline by newspaper guys. most of the heavy work is done by full-time sports publications like SI, ESPN Magazine, and the various sports business journals.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
March 19, 2011 3:42 pm

Not news that newspapers don’t do a good job covering sports…this sale is out of most of their depth…(Just like it is for McCown)

Jamie Teweel, or whatever his name is was mentioning all through Leafs lunch that “I hope there are no long pre game ceremonies for Kaberle”. He kept bringing it up, even mentioning it to his guest Clude loiselle – who basically said “the players will give it about 15 seconds thought, then move on”

Does Teweel even watch Leaf games? How would this issue even be important? When have the Leafs ever honoured an active player before a game…If they show some clips during a break big deal…what a doofus

Rome
Rome
March 19, 2011 5:01 pm

I hope this is not the new Phx Coyotes, which was a topic previous that was talked way too much with almost nothing happening that is new.

Kaberle should be cheered, IMO very close to top of the list (if not the top) as the most underrated Leaf in recent memory. I can still not understand the “need” to get rid of him, for what seems like just for the sake of it.

Mike S
Mike S
March 19, 2011 11:58 pm

I agree with Rob in Aurora

I listened to 640 at noon today and I heard Jamie Tawil go on and on about how he hoped there would be no pre-game ceremony for Kaberle…………he also said he couldn’t understand the people who were upset that Reimer didn’t play against Florida…………..the entire hour-long show was a real head scratcher

I have no idea why Tawil hosts that show………..he doesn’t add much insight and he is incredibly soft on the Leafs when they deserve criticism…………Bryan Hayes was much better on that show but he doesn’t host it any more ever since he took over as co-host of Wilbur’s show

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 21, 2011 8:52 am

why on earth is the guy who reports on Paris Hilton and Guitar Hero writing columns about Rogers, the Jays, Sportsnet, TSN, and MLSE. The fact that there are 4 self-references in the opening paragraph doesn’t help his credibility.

Is the situation really that dire at the Star? Give Z his job back. He may be bland but at least he knows what he’s talking about.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/article/957073–mudhar-rogers-banks-on-power-of-baseball-mum-on-mlse

Rob in Auora
Rob in Auora
March 21, 2011 11:01 am

Thanks for the link – I can’t understand that move by the Star. (It smacks of affirmative action perhaps?) CZ seemed to enjoy writing about Sports media and was pretty well dialed in – Not sure why they pulled him, then let it go uncovered for so long, then they replace him?…Not an astute move. Sports media should be covered by someone who knws sports.

The same problem exists at the Globe. Dowbiggin’s “column” is awful and a lot of that (not all) has to do with his general lack of knowledge and apparent lack of interest in sports.

James High Park
James High Park
March 21, 2011 11:37 am

re mike (in boston) says…

you’re right about Raju Mudhar lol
he reviews console games on the “Reviews on the Run” TV show
(i know a gaming nerd when i see one… i am one myself!)

he must be looking to branch out of that ghetto i guess

Suckwinder Passwinder
Suckwinder Passwinder
March 22, 2011 5:42 am

I have read Mudhar twice and will not anymore. In two pieces he has told me nothing I did not know a week before.
Way to go Star.
Chris Z was very good, and considering what Toronto has now for print” media” coverage,Chris was miles ahead!!

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