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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