Friday Toronto Sports Media Roundup


Well well well, guess selling something, anything, for north of $1B isn’t so easy after all.

Some of the coverage of this story is quite funny. Yes, the Leafs haven’t won dork in my entire my lifetime. Neither have the Raptors for that matter. All 40+ years of failure aren’t on the current players, coaches or owners are they? I mean really. After this current group of owners fumbled around for years they appear to have righted the ship, at least on the Leafs side wouldn’t you say? They aren’t winners by any means but it looks like a solid foundation may actually be in place. Emphasis on “may”.

“The pension fund has made lots of money owning MLSE, but despite hiring big names like Bryan Colangelo and Brian Burke, hasn’t figured out ways to move its basketball and hockey properties into the elite of either the NBA and NHL. It can develop and open a good sports bar; winning games has never been something it has done well.

With more than $100 billion in assets, MLSE is but a small part of the pension fund’s holdings, and Leaf fans need to understand that. Even under MLSE, the Leafs are only a part of the puzzle. In a generation, the hockey franchise has gone from being owned by a man who’s sole interest was being the proprietor of the team to being owned by a corporate entity with only a passing interest in the needs of the hockey club.

And there’s no end in sight.”

That from Damien Cox. Yes the same Damien Cox (who’s work you know I really like) who wrote this only days ago about the sudden success of the Leafs powerplay:

“Power plays get hold and get cold, go up and down as a season progresses. But if the Leafs can stay in the NHL’s top 10 in this category, it’s a reason to believe.”

There were only 3 suitors for MLSE in my humble opinion; CTV/TSN, Rogers and then private money behind Larry Tanenbaum. The price is insanely high unless it’s a content play. Anytime your listing price begins with a B the odds of selling are remote. Teachers won’t hold on forever, the price may yet have to come down, or the rings start rolling in.

On the flip side, Damien has an interesting article on the Braley Football League. You know the league where one guy owns 1/4 of the teams playing. It was bad enough when two teams were called the roughriders but to have 2 out of 8 teams owned by 1 guy?? Hell why not go the single owner model?? Anyways, it appears that the league now wants to prop up the Argos!

“Still, the league is going to toss some money at the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats to address what is ailing the CFL in southern Ontario, $1 million to be split between the two clubs.

Well, $500,000 in Toronto may buy you some market research and that’s about it. Interestingly, this is the kind of league support that the previous owners of the Argos, David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski, asked for but were denied access to.”

$500,000? Are you kidding me? What’s that for? Unless they are going to buy all the tickets for every home game and give them to public school kids, they are wasting their time. Admit that Toronto isn’t a CFL town, focus on other markets and perhaps use the dome as permanent grey cup location. Want to talk about burning 500k?? wow.

File this one under innocent until proven guilty, please. It seems that Jay Triano’s dad may be in some Penn State hot water. You can read about Triano’s dad almost everywhere. God, how awful if true.

Happy Friday night.


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November 25, 2011 6:53 pm

Nice to see some changeup in the roundtable today.

Glad finally to hear admit at 530 that he had been talking to gillette about all this stuff.

November 25, 2011 6:59 pm

Maybe they should have put the Leafs on EBay!

November 25, 2011 9:59 pm

Question: Why does Sportsnet use Jeff Marek so little? I barely ever see him. It’s a shame because I feel he’s one of the more talented and entertaining guys out there. They should have Marek be the star of their hockey coverage, instead it’s the bland Darren Millard. I don’t get it.

November 25, 2011 11:57 pm

The idea of using the Rogers Centre as a permanent Grey Cup location if the Argos were to die off is a pretty original, intriguing idea..

Not sure if it would work, but very interesting. They may have to do something if Braley wants to sell and no new owners pop up. Maybe accept that the CFL tends to struggle in large Eastern cities and take the game to smaller Ontario cities like London/Kitchener/Mississauga? I dunno..


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November 26, 2011 6:33 pm

I saw this in one of the papers today on MLSE. Larry Tannenbaum made them put a clause in that media rights have to go up for bids. So unless they can buy out Larry too, it’s worthless to Rogers and Bell if they want the TV and Radio.

design guy Paul
design guy Paul
November 26, 2011 8:26 pm

Larry T. didn’t put in a clause about media rights. The CRTC did! Why? So monollopy’s cannot control the airwaves. Had nothing to do with Tannenbaum and Bob McCown has been stating that Tannenbaum doesn’t have 1st right of refusal which is believed to be true.

In any event, the bottom line is the price was too high, the economy is still too volatile and the TPF are still getting a good return so no need to sell.

But if they want to make more money, a lot more than just raising ticket prices or making the playoffs need to happen. The Leafs have to become real Cup contenders….

I am not impressed at all with Brian Burke and his endless rhetoric. If the Leafs miss the playoffs again this year, Burke MUST be fired as it would be 4 years in a row of not making the post season with him as the head guy.

dave in bolton
dave in bolton
November 26, 2011 8:50 pm

here’s my prediction on how the Canadian sporting landscape will look in a year.

Tannenbum and Rogers team up and take control of MLSE. except for the radio rights which end up on TSN1050.

Bell win’s the NHL national package for CTV/TSN and only Saturday Leaf games. the rest are shown on Sportsnet.

the NHL, CBC and CTV agree for HNIC to be sold to Bell which ends up on CTV. NHL will want for the HNIC brand to continue.

a new Coache’s corner is born with James Duthie and Don Cherry.

Ron MacLean ends up at Rogers/Sportsnet.

CBC is out of the NHL business and but get the World Juniors.

TSNEWS is born

Shaw buys the rest of the Score and re brands it as Global Sports.

what you think?

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
November 27, 2011 8:50 am

who the hell is Rick Westhead and how come he’s such a good journalist?–maple-leaf-sports-plans-broadcast-gamble?bn=1

November 27, 2011 1:46 pm

Great find Mike. Interesting article.

A third cable sports network? Man, they’d be spreading the content out pretty thin. Sportsnet would be busy with the Jays all summer but be pretty dead in the winter. And what would TSN do with two channels and no Leafs, Jays or Raptors to show? Hm..

November 27, 2011 1:50 pm

Steve Simmons touched on this issue today, too (not as well as Westhead did though)

He makes a good point though. Rogers and Bell must be concerned about the potential of a new regional sports network if they were willing to bid together on the Leafs/Raptors. They’re direct competition for each other on so many fronts…it’s kind of shocking that they considered a co-bid.

November 27, 2011 4:24 pm

“Tannenbum and Rogers team up and take control of MLSE. except for the radio rights which end up on TSN1050. ”

Could happen, but if Rogers buys the Leafs why would they sell the radio rights to TSN? They’d put them on The Fan.

November 27, 2011 7:43 pm

Anyone watching the Grey Cup?

They have a decibel meter, I thought it was 1996 for a second.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
November 27, 2011 8:06 pm

@PBI, did you notice it was a Radio Shack meter as well.

November 27, 2011 8:21 pm

@ Gerry

Haha, didn’t notice that.

I literally haven’t seen a decibel meter used as part of a broadcast of a sporting event since the mid-1990s and I can even remember the sporting event, 1998 NBA Finals between Utah and Chicago where the noise was insane during the games in Utah.

I can’t believe it’s part of one in 2011 though.

Another Steve
Another Steve
November 27, 2011 8:37 pm

Years ago some sense of patriotism would make me wish to watch the Grey Cup – not anymore, I am afraid.

I don’t want to say anything mean-spiritied, but I just don’t care about the CFL.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x