Who Cares Who Owns MLSE?

I’m a big Rick Westhead fan. We who enjoy reading about sports business lost quite a bit when the Star sent him overseas. Thankfully he is back and writing sports business again.

He broke a story today that an American private equity firm is take a look under the hood of the for sale teachers shares of MLSE. He didn’t report that a deal was close or one was every going to happen. No the story was that they are looking. Then the insanity, predictably began.

First, the reporter over at the Globe who broadcasted that the fine folks of Ice Edge Holdings were buying Manchester United before he realized that it was my birthday, I mean April 1st:

“There is little chance a U.S. equity fund or any financial institution is going to wind up with control of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., according to an investment banker familiar with the company. ”

“Richard Peddie, president of MLSE, declined to comment as did MLSE board member Dale Lastman. Tanenbaum did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Teachers said there would be no comment. ”

In other words, no one of any significance had anything to say on the record. Oh and Westhead never said the group was going to buy the team, rather that they were looking. Shoalts does not say that isn’t true.

Shoalt’s colleague has it right though:

“A published report in which sources say U.S.-based Providence Equity Partners LLC had looked into purchasing the 80-per-cent stake of MLSE held by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has been shot down by other sources. (I’ll see your anonymous sources and raise you my anonymous sources.) ”

“the notion of the Maple Leafs being run by Yankees is not as outrageous as the notion of the Montreal Canadiens being run by an American, which is of course what happened when George Gillett Jr. purchased the club in 2001. ”

“There were segments of the Quebec media that thought the story was a total fabrication up until the day Gillett was announced as the club’s owner – and they can’t be blamed. Such was the skepticism surrounding an American owner who proved an able steward of the NHL team and its history before selling it back to the Molson family.

If the sacred flannel can fall into the hands of Americans, all bets are off. ”

I want an owner with deep pockets. I don’t care where they come from. Blair is right, if the Habs can have an American owner so too can the Leafs. It’s just not that relevant.

Then there is the Westhead’s colleague Cathal Kelly who turns to humor:

“We live in hockey’s most imperfect neighborhood, where the market richly, if grudgingly, sustains a loser. The only way to mitigate that pain is ensuring that it’s shared from top to bottom.”

Couple other interesting article this evening:

Do you remember Damien Goddard? Well, he’s the new poster boy for stop gay marriage:

““I do not hate homosexuals,” the devout Roman Catholic said in an interview this week.

“But if I remain silent I am consenting to something I don’t believe in. I have 2,000 years of Christian history backing me up on this. I’m good with that.”

This is one story that will be interesting to follow.

The Damien Cox chimed in with a directive to the Maple Leafs brass:

“Enough already.

Having listened to more than a week of complaining from the Maple Leaf organization and others about an exclusive story written by the Star’s Dave Feschuk revealing previously unknown information about the health of goaltender James Reimer, it’s time to set a few things straight.”

“The fact is that for decades now, longer before Ron Wilson and Brian Burke started giving free journalism lectures, the Star has been the best read paper in the city, and partly that’s because quality journalists like Red Burnett, Milt Dunnell, Jim Proudfoot, Wayne Parrish, Rick Fraser, Rick Matsumoto, Mark Harding and Bob McKenzie did such a damn good job of covering the Leafs. All, you should know, spoke to the mothers of a few hockey players along the way.”

What do you think? Did Feschuck cross the line?

How awesome is this?

“Finally, must have missed where Ron Wilson, Nick Kypreos, Mike Keenan, Doug MacLean and Brad May were able to squeeze in journalism degrees around their busy hockey duties. In the discussion of The Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk calling up Maple Leaf goalie James Reimer’s mom for concussion info, they all seem to have become experts on the ethics of reporting. Such multi-taskers. Gentlemen, since you apparently missed the class while pursuing your hockey studies, the credo of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”


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