Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: Twitter/great radio topics


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning Toronto sports media. Another busy week with most of the usual suspects making headlines. If you did really good work this week and don’t see it recognized here, my apologies. It was hard to find the diamonds amid all the rough. As always, please email or DM me if there are stories I should be writing about. Once more, into the fray …


Argos Find a New (Dysfunctional) Home


One of our long national nightmares is finally over … probably. The CFL’s eldest problem child has finally moved out of the house. In buying the Argos, Bell and Larry Tanenbaum are providing long term ownership stability for the first time in a generation.


This is a reasonable move for Bell since they are already financially invested in the success of the CFL as the league’s main broadcaster. This move does somewhat open TSN up to potential criticisms of bias since they will now share an owner with one of the teams they are covering. I doubt anything significant will come of this, but it is something to keep an eye on. Most of Canada resents Toronto for thinking of itself as the centre of the Canadian universe, and if TSN spends time on the Argos at the expense of cities that actually support the CFL there might be some blowback. But all in all this is a good move for Bell, the CFL, and the Argos.


I am confused as to what Mr. Tanenbaum is getting out of this deal. Given the small sale price — so small no one seems to be able to find it — it is clear that money was not the reason he jumped on board the good ship Argos. His presence is even more curious when you think about the three headed monster that is MLSE. Tanenbaum has been, up until now, neutral as between the bitter rivals that make up the rest of the board. By signing on to this deal he now has slightly more eggs in Bell’s basket. One might have thought that the arrangement only works if Tanenbaum is fully impartial. Again, this might not lead to anything, but it will be something to watch as sports’ most dysfunctional ownership group lurches forward.


When you do the accounting you now have:


– a Rogers owned team playing in a Rogers owned dome

– two MLSE teams playing in a MLSE owned arena

– a Bell/Tanenbaum owned team sharing a field with a MLSE owned team, in a MLSE operated but city owned stadium which wasn’t designed for CFL football.


Questions: if you support the Argos, what are you hoping for out of this new ownership group? Also, are you planning to attend any games at the Dome this year?


Putting the E in MLSE


In classic MLSE fashion, the Argos press conference turned into a debacle as news of the Babcock hiring leaked out. The flying elbow off the top rope came when Seen & Heard favourite David Shoalts — seriously I love Dave, both for the amount of content he gives me to write about and for being the only person at a major news outlet covering radio ratings — asked Tim Leiweke to confirm that Babcock was a Leaf. The glorious video can be found here. In light of his recent work in print and on Twitter, Shoalts’ “don’t give a shit” meter is confirmed to be at an all-time high. Tanenbaum fielded the fumble from Leiweke and sheepishly admitted that an announcement was expected at 2:30, or approximately 15 minutes after the end of the press conference.


Many observers ripped Shoalts for taking the wind out of the Argos’ sails, and I will admit that was my first reaction as well. A similar incident occurred two years ago when Mike Toth was heavily criticized by many (including media members) for asking about Colangelo at Ujiri’s introduction event. TSM has a write up here. But the more I reflected on this I can’t blame Shoalts for asking the question. Here is why: many of the same people on the Argos stage were involved in signing Babcock. So they knew, or ought to have known, that these two events were going to collide. Hence, this is a mess of their own making just as the decision to keep Colangelo on when signing Ujiri was. I can’t really fault Shoalts for revelling in a madness that was entirely MLSE’s own doing. In addition to my support, his colleague Cathal Kelly also has his back:


There’s a rumour running around that the Rogers faction of MLSE are responsible for leaking the Babcock news to scuttle the Argos press conference. I have no idea if that is true, but it’s a fun thought to entertain.


The other notable media performance stemming from the Argos news came courtesy of Damien Cox who had this to say:



I don’t know why Damien does this. It is a matter of fact not opinion that Rick Westhead and Dave Naylor first reported the impending sale to Bell and Tanenbaum but not Rogers about three weeks ago, and Naylor confirmed it some time thereafter. It may be the case that Madani was “first” according to some arbitrary and pointless way of keeping score but it is clear to any rational observer that the original reporting and real journalism were done by others. The lack of professional respect Cox demonstrates is astounding but hardly out of character. Madani unfortunately ends up being an innocent victim in all of this.


The cherry on top of this farcical sundae came from current Argo Ricky Foley who attacked pretty much everyone in a series of tweets, the highlight of which was this:


If we look at the sentiment being expressed charitably he was probably trying to stir up some patriotic passion for the Argos. But any time you use the word “foreigners” as part of an outburst chances are you are about to come off poorly.


Overall this was an excellent hour of theatre courtesy of MLSE and the local media. Nice work everyone.




The Jays made front page news on Jon Heyman’s widely read CBS Inside Baseball page. Unfortunately the news is that the Jays are indeed very disappointing. The more specific news is that one of the best pitchers available on the trade market refused to be traded to the Jays.


Robert MacLeod of the Globe has some good reporting on the mounting frustration in the clubhouse. Steve Simmons reports that a meeting took place on the future of Jays’ manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker. Scott MacArthur reports that Walker is taking things in stride. Anthopolous appeared on the FAN to try to pour cold water on Simmons’ story.


The overwhelming story line of the season so far is how poorly constructed this roster is on the pitching side. The Jays have cycled through more pitchers than any other team in baseball and sport league worst stats across many categories. AA’s reclamation projects have failed for the most part. While there is every reason to believe the starting pitching will regress towards career averages there is little reason to believe they will cancel out the poor start entirely. We are deep enough into the season that it is now more likely than not that the rotation and bullpen will end the season worse than last year’s mediocre results. John Lott has a good article laying out the gory details.


The good news of course is that with the new playoff system almost no one is out of it until late August. But there is little reason to think the current roster will win 90 games. AA has never made significant in-season trades or coaching changes. Will we see some this year? I guess it depends on whether he has been assured of a job for next year. If yes, then I reckon AA will hold the course and wait for the huge salaries to come off the books in the off-season. If no, then he has to try to do something to make this team better.


Quick Hits


The Corey/Katy Perry controversy has died down but Scott Stinson at the National Post had a good article on the Broken Windows theory and sexism in sports. I don’t fully buy the argument because I think there is room for both cheerleaders and gender inclusiveness in sports arenas, but that’s a longer discussion. Good smart piece by Stinson.


There will be a vote next week on whether to ban Israel from FIFA as a result of the ongoing conflict in the West Bank. Rather than being an escape from political conflict soccer continues to be a stage for strife instead.


Vice Sports now has a full-time Canadian operation. I wish they were fully independent (Vice signed a $100 million dollar partnership with Rogers last year) but so far they have been a valuable addition to the sports media landscape. Not bad for a little Montreal magazine that mostly dished out snarky fashion advice.


Michael Sam is coming to the CFL. His sexual orientation will likely be a non-story. If he excels up here it will be interesting to see how the American media handles this fact in relation to his NFL snub.


In other news, LeTourneau University, an inter-denominational Christian school in Texas that plays in Div III of the NCAA, recently banned student-athletes from “same-sex dating behaviors and public advocacy for the position that sex outside of a biblically-defined marriage is morally acceptable.”


Low Hanging Fruit


There was so much low hanging fruit to choose from this week so this list is woefully incomplete. Add yours in the comments.


  • Congratulations to Dean Blundell (who blocked me after just one day of following him) for having good guy colleagues. He also really doesn’t like Bruce Arthur.


  • Congratulations to Andrew Walker for being the voice of reason.



  • Michael Farber was a co-host on TSN Drive this week. He’s very good.


  • If you don’t know what a word means it’s probably best not to throw it out and hope for the best. Dirk Hayhurst appeared on TSN Drive (May 18th, Hour 3) and referred to Joe Maddon as the “penultimate” manager in baseball.


  • Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News is awesome. He was on PTS (May 21, 5pm) to talk about the Babcock snub and Buffalo’s smouldering rage. If you haven’t been listening to WGR then you’ve missed out on some quality comedy.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

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May 23, 2015 5:23 am

Thanks for a great read:I find it also puzzling on why Larry Tanenbaum would be involved with Bell on the sale of the Argos. Sure he is a football fan but why now? Argo have and most likely always lose money or is he trying to get a NFL team in Toronto? Now if I am Rogers I could see why if it is true why they dragged this deal on for so long in getting done,you now have two part owners in the same bed do they team up and work against Rogers which will benefit Bell? Seeing Bell is stinging from losing the NHL to Rogers may just trying to get even.I am sure the lawyers at Rogers were working overtime to make sure there will protected.

koko b. ware
koko b. ware
May 23, 2015 7:06 am

Great read.
How can you call the release of Michael Sam a snub by the NFL? Scouts all over point to his lack of size as the cause for his inability to make it as a pass rusher in the NFL.

Enough of his story. I have no idea who most players in any league sleep with, be it man, woman or sheep. That being said, why do we need to know about Sam’s sex life?

My guess is if anyone says anything negative then the homophobe label conveniently is available. And, if no one says a word, then we all accept it.

Again, the key here is publicly everyone says and does the right thing. Privately, in dressing rooms, at home and elsewhere, many people still say/do the politically incorrect thing. Like hydro one soccer boy. What he said was obviously stupid and unjustifiable, but the issue came to light only because of the camera.

If none of you have heard/seen, tolerated or said a racist, sexist, islamaphobic, anti-semitic etc. Comment or joke in the last few months, then really you’re in the minority or living in a vacuum.

May 23, 2015 7:17 am

Professional respect is not the only thing in which Damian Cox is deficient. He also lacks honour. TSN discovered this the hard way when they tried to hire him.

May 23, 2015 7:33 am

Hahaha. Damien Cox.

TFC fans must be pissed. I would be.

And I said it in another thread, but:

If Sid doesn’t pot the OT winner on Ryan Miller, Babcock becomes Marc Crawford.

Enjoy the hype.

May 23, 2015 9:54 am

“Michael Sam is coming….”?

Interesting – (ahem) – choice of words. Thankfully, it is spelled correctly.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
May 23, 2015 10:40 am

A while back I heard someone say the TFC fans were whiners for not wanting to share their facility. Now, a lot of Canadian soccer fans are indeed complainers, but on this issue they’ve got a point: Wembley pitch ruined by NFLers

I agree with koko b. ware on Michael Sam. The insinuation is that the NFL and the teams that had a look at him but passed are guilty of discrimination. With that mentality commentators better be careful when Sam makes a mistake. They could get accused of bigotry if they call it like they see it. And why would the American media have to handle anything if Sam excels in the CFL? No offence intended to CFL fans but everyone knows the Canadian league is inferior to the NFL. Excelling in the CFL rarely impresses anyone south of the border.

May 23, 2015 12:49 pm

Once again, for real reporting on the Blue Jays, you have to go outside of the Rogers bubble (Shi Davidi aside).

Nice work, Mike.

May 23, 2015 3:11 pm

A tradition unlike any other. Bringing on jerry Sullivan when there is bad news in buffalo.

May 23, 2015 4:43 pm

The smug and unjustified self-satisfaction of Elliot Friedman and Dean Blundell patting each other on the back on the Dean Blundell show ( May 22, 7 AM ) is just too much. Dean: ‘…a month ago I Tweeted 6 and a half over 5 years which ultimately came into fruition.” It did??? ( love the Walker rebuke of that )

Dean congratulated Elliot for ‘breaking the story’. Note to Dean and Elliot – there will be no Pulitzer forthcoming. This wasn’t uncovering the Watergate scandal or outing a chemical giant for poisoning a river. EVERY single media guy in Toronto would have reported this bleeping story anyway. Mr Smug, Elliot – ‘I had heard a half hour earlier it was Toronto, but I waited and sat for 30 agonizing minutes before Tweeting.’

He did? I don’t criticize people for their typing on Twitter but if he sat on it for 30 minutes – wouldn’t his tweet be better than this gem: ‘babcock to Tor’ ? So Elliot obviously got a call or a text from his MLSE buddy that said ‘it’s on’ and he farted out a Tweet to try and win the race. Dreger beat him if you look at the Babcock Twitter timeline. Dreger: “Sources say Mike Babcock has been hired by the Maple leafs. Mammoth 8 yr contract believed to be around $50 million.” Well worded Dreger vs ‘babcock to Tor.’ Who ‘sat on it for 30 minutes.’ ? This is not breaking news, it is the inbred Toronto Leafs media trying to one-up each other. Attabee guys.

And there was something unnerving and grotesque to look out at the view from the podium at the Babcock press conference to see so many laughing and cajoling member of the media, most of whom are in some way, paid by the entities that own the Leafs.

Babcock won’t win here. But hopefully he and Shanahan put in place a substantive organization that the next coach can win with.

Don River
Don River
May 23, 2015 4:59 pm

London, even by London standards, was deluged with rain in the days around that NFL game, so that was an anomaly. Certainly hasn’t stopped Wembley from scheduling three NFL games this year. And rugby games have been played at BMO for years. Where are the complaint about that?

“Excelling in the CFL rarely impresses anyone south of the border.”

Depends on the audience. Considering that a handful CFL players find their way to NFL training camps every year, NFL personnel people obviously pay attention. As far as the general public goes, hardly anything about Canada (Raptors, Jays, politics, etc.) makes an impression south of the border. To the typical American, Canada is just a tiny grain of sand in a giant beach.

May 23, 2015 7:22 pm

my favourite Cox tweet of the week was Damo tweeting “I’ll just refer to Michael SAM as linebacker”.
I assume the knowledgeable people will refer to Michael Sam as Lineman.
What a Cox

May 23, 2015 8:01 pm

There is no question Bell will likely help Larry Tannambaum and Tim Liewike acquire an NFL Team. Larry probably joined team Bell knowing that the Rogers brand took a hit as it pertains to the NFL. 1. Remember the NFL and Buffalo fans anticipated that Rogers through Bon Jovi and Edward Rogers were going to attempt to buy and relocate the Bills which was against the wishes of Ralph Wilson longtime respected owner and also highly against the fans wishes. 2. The Bills in Toronto series was an epic failure it ended prematurely. I can recall Bob on PTS one time saying that rumor has it that one of the reasons for Tim being pushed out of MLSE is because the Rogers side of the company thought that Tim was favouring the Bell executives, if in fact that is true, this puzzle seems to be coming together. What if Bell commits to being Larry’s Bank to purchase an NFL team in exchange for his stake in MLSE, which would give Bell majority ownership,wow wouldn’t that be something.

May 23, 2015 10:33 pm

Great comment by Ricky Foley. I had to look up who he was. Does this idiot not consider Americans as foreigners because his minor football league does?

koko b. ware
koko b. ware
May 23, 2015 10:43 pm

Minor league football? Really?
Almost everyone I have ever met that trash the CFL have yet to watch a full game or been to a game in person. And if they have by chance, it was at Rogers Center (which is not the ideal place to watch football).

What’s even better is those who proclaim a hard on for the NFL have yet to see a game live. Guess for many it’s like admiring the celebrity on the net from afar knowing full well you’ll never get any.

The Londoner
The Londoner
May 24, 2015 12:40 am

Some more weird argumentation from Mike Wilner today on BlueJaysTalk. Especially his attempt to defend Danny Valencia’s lack of hustle on the play he was thrown out at second. Wilner I think was trying to argue that a mistake cannot cost you a game if the mistake occurs early in the game.

Wilner was so arrogant today that he would have made Napoleon look modest.

Don River
Don River
May 24, 2015 1:28 am

“There is no question Bell will likely help Larry Tannambaum and Tim Liewike acquire an NFL Team.”

No question they won’t since corporate ownership is forbidden in the NFL. Bell has no incentive to chase the NFL. Leiweke is gone as soon as his replacement is found. He also made no progress on an L.A. NFL team in his previous job or a Toronto team in his current job. I’d say that qualifies him as a dud. Add to that the NFL has no interest in expansion, is definitely very interested in servicing L.A. with one and possibly two teams moving there soon, and seems far more interested in London (a lot) than Toronto (not at all).

I get Tanenbaum keeping his options open, but I’m not seeing any substance here.

May 24, 2015 3:18 am

@Don River

Everyone know’s that corporate ownership is forbidden in the NFL, that is why I mentioned Bell being just a bank for Larry and Tim as bell prints money. The Nfl like any other league will absolutely expand as long as they anticipate through market research large profits and interest. This is clearly an untapped international market which has a proven track record with the other major league sports. Larry is absolutely correct in what he said in the Argos acquisition press conference, The Nfl will come to Toronto, to your comment about the NFL and dreams of a team in L.A let’s not forget the NFL has failed twice in L.A.

Larry ownership stake with MLSE (if not all even some) can be leveraged for Bell’s financial assistance not to mention BMO field is now going to be reconfigured for football. Bell has something Larry and Tim want which is endless pockets and Larry has 25% of a MLSE which would make Bell the single largest owner of sports in this country when adding to it’s already 37.5 stake. I can see this as a viable trade off, I can also see that the scale in this weird ownership of mlse is about to be tipped in someone’s favour. Something has absolutely got to give in the ownership of mlse, it just doesn’t make any sense for arch rivals to be partners in ownership.
If you really think about it there is so much incentive for Larry, Let’s say he does sell some of his stake in MLSE for funding of an NFL team and maybe a position in BCE, Larry will still have a part ownership in MLSE and an NFL team, not to mention he will no longer have to listen to two large telco’s fighting for power in the boardroom as finally there will be one majority owner. This would be a nightmare for Rogers and clearly a win for Larry and Bell.

May 24, 2015 8:46 am

“Let’s say he does sell some of his stake in MLSE”

My guess is that when Bell / Rogers agreed to this unholy alliance they contracted that neither would buy out Tannenbaum to avoid this situation.

May 24, 2015 9:01 am

The Londoner: Agreed. Mike Wilner has devolved into probably the most ridiculous broadcaster in Toronto and perhaps Canada … and that says something.

May 24, 2015 9:02 am

I would think that both Bell and Rogers would have a condition in MLSE agreement that if Larry sells any or all of his shares they would each have an equal opportunity to buy 50% each so neither company could gain major share by buying out the minor partner. If not they are both at the whim of the junior partner or his heirs and hard to believe their lawyers would not have covered this off.

May 24, 2015 3:17 pm

According to the deal Larry has the first right of refusal on any decision, so Larry has veto power, He’s been a board member forever, nothing in the deal prohibits Larry from making one of these telcos a majority by selling some or all of his stake. I wouldn’t think so in a free market.

May 24, 2015 5:41 pm

Since the inevitable comment regarding Toronto NFL team came up..

..I will say this again.


I feel better now.

May 24, 2015 6:18 pm


Lots of deep pockets
World Class real estate for the Athletes
A rapidly growing appetite for Nfl football from a fan perspective

I’m not sure why you think Toronto is not a viable international market for an NFL team. If I’m the commissioner this is certainly a avenue in which I would explore in order to scale the NFL brand.

Mike in Burlington
May 24, 2015 7:13 pm

There are already some very serious NFL team problems in St Louis, Oakland, Jacksonville, San Diego and New Orleans. Los Angeles is on deck for at least one team, maybe two, then there is Godell’s plan for London UK. Regardless of MLSE and Rogers money, they aren’t even on the NFL’s radar…

ESPN reported that the owners meetings discussed expansion last week, and voted to stay where they are, the right number of teams, despite some serious location issues.

If you are in Toronto and looking for NFL team here, pack your patience my friends, barring something radical, it’ll be a decade…

May 24, 2015 9:09 pm

The London U.K talk is absolutely ridiculous. The Nfl has been talking about the U.K experiment for years, It’s always been just talk and has never translated. I think the NFL knows that a lot of questions are unanswered when talking about the NFL expansion to the U.K
these questions are, what is the quality of play going to be like with so much travel time? secondly at what times are these games going to be broadcast given the large Time Zone difference? can’t forget about broadcast it’s the biggest vehicle for generating revenue. Who is the potential broadcast partner In the U.K?

In terms of the handful of teams that are struggling in the NFL St Louise, Oakland. Jacksonville, San Diego these are markets that were hit hard by the recession and are likely still in recovery mode, This is all the more reason why Toronto will become a viable option. The deep pockets of Larry T backed by the deep pockets of Bell will force the NFL’s hand. The NFL can say as much times as they want that Toronto is not on their radar, but everyone Knows money talks. Baseball will return to Montreal because it’s money, hockey will return to Quebec because it’s money. hockey returned to Winnipeg because of money, The NFL will come to Toronto because it’s money.

koko b. ware
koko b. ware
May 25, 2015 6:42 am

I like both o’neill and Foley, if only for their openness.
However, the fat comment by Foley is just mean. There are many causes for “fat” beyond diet and/or beer. Obviously, Foley is trying to light it up on Twitter, but a personal attack on someone is not the way to do it.

May 25, 2015 7:58 am

@Neil – Toronto is all those things but the NFL doesn’t want or NEED to come here. They are never on the radar when this topic comes up and yet people think because of deep pockets that we will get a team. I don’t see it.

From a TV standpoint and revenue standpoint, it’s always better to stick with the US. BUT….if they decide they wanted more revenue streams, going to Europe (London) is a better option than Toronto.

May 25, 2015 8:27 am


Wait, you don’t like something lol? Sorry, seem like a nice guy overall but man are you upset alot on here, I can’t be the only one thats told you that….

May 25, 2015 8:42 am

The only constant in the Maple Leafs brutal run since their 2004 exit has been Larry Tannenbaum. They’ve been though many coaches, GMs and presidents but only one minority owner. I’m pretty sure its not coincidental that their futility id tied to Tannenbaum’s sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

I suspect the Leafs fortunes will only turn when LT sells his 25% of MLSE. On the bright side, perhaps his involvement with the Argos will speed up their eventual death.

May 25, 2015 9:05 am


Going to U.K would be a broadcast nightmare in a North American league. The ratings would suffer, advertisers would absolutely be oppose. I can’t see how you think a country with a seven hour time difference is more viable than a market where it’s next closest NFL market is an hour and a half away(Buffalo from Toronto). Is there even a football ready facility available? What would their taxpayers say about this, especially knowing that they may have to build a new stadium, the people in the U.K really hold the government accountable for the mismanagement of their money, Lets just say “They make their voices heard” the U.K suffered hardcore from the recession.
Historically what is the number of London Born NFL players? Are the fans NFL crazy? this move would be the same as Gary Bettman going to Phoenix Arizona with hockey and it would end up yielding the same financial results.

Mike in Burlington
May 25, 2015 10:47 am

@Niel…your passion for NFL football in Toronto is commendable, but that doesn’t change the the reality of the situation.

London game starts before 3pm would be no more of a logistical issue than start times for Thursday, Sunday and Monday night games are now to the core North America audiences, (London is either 5 or 6 hours ahead, not 7). The Brits are very skilled at sport broadcasting and it would take little input from the NFL for it to look exactly like an American broadcast.

As for ratings suffering, growing legions of fans are watching and they simply don’t care where the game is broadcast from, and in many cases who is even playing, they just want football. This years rating were as good as last year was, despite all the problems, the audience doesn’t care.

As for ratings, there are 60M eyeballs in the same timezone in the UK compared to only 35M spread across Canada, the overseas audience can be new and huge, we would be watching anyway.

As for a facility, Wembley is a far superior facility than SkyDome, in every way, not only is it far bigger (90K seating), but far newer (2007) and being designed as as a soccer pitch first, the NFL field drops right inside it. It’s already built and needs more events and the NFL brings massive amounts of money to the table. SkyDome is far older, smaller and nowhere near as good a fit, even Rogers admits it needs $100M+ in upgrades now, NFL or not…

I’ve been in London during “gridiron” season and I can tell from first hand experience they love it, as crazy about it as we are, despite loving soccer too, and the number of Brit born players (or us with Canadian born players) compared to the rest of the team really has no relevance to their watching and enjoyment of the game, especially if you are in the NFL’s target demographic.

You may want Toronto, but Los Angeles, London and Mexico City are far more likely locations, Toronto is a very distant 4th. Toronto has been done with the Bills series already, and the NFL saw how piss poorly that went…

May 25, 2015 11:20 am

Rain is an anomaly in London? I don’t think so. Maybe in Arizona or southern California, but not London — or anywhere in the northern U.S. or Canada.
Sooner or later a football game is going to be played on a rain-soaked field, and good luck trying to replace the grass if it has to done after mid-September.

May 25, 2015 11:34 am

^^ typo — should have been “if it has to be done after mid-September”.

koko b. ware
koko b. ware
May 25, 2015 12:01 pm

Correct me if I’m mistaken….
But I recall hearing that the NFL needs to have a second league anywhere really that would afford them protection from anti-trust laws. Without the CFL, the players can file a lawsuit if the league inhibits them from making a living. (Suspended players, salary caps, etc).

Matty Zero
May 25, 2015 12:17 pm

I love the Odog and his schtick, but he better be careful. Could totally see him getting axed for a bad tweet or comment on the air. Toe the line..

May 25, 2015 12:32 pm

A 3PM game in London (which is the traditional soccer kickoff time) would be 10 AM ET.

The EPL on NBCSN has shown that people will get up to watch games and thats for a niche product in the US.

A 10 AM ET NFL game would give the league 4 broadcast windows on Sunday. I imagine the biggest pushback would come from the broadcast partners, since a game would cut into their lucrative pre game Sunday shows.

Mike in Burlington
May 25, 2015 1:25 pm

Time zone brain cramp on my part, The latest London start will be no later than 8pm, or 3 pm here, the same as WEST coast games.

Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown
May 25, 2015 2:20 pm

Anyone else hear Ryan Pinder today on for Blair? Does that mean Blair is off or is he PTS? After the first five minutes of Pinder, I was ready to give up but decided to give him a little more time and I’m glad I did. He’s crisp, clear, gets to guests when he needs to, doesn’t fill time just for the sake of filling it. Blair should take some notes. They are bringing Pinder in as a dress rehearsal for Jeff’s replacement, no?

I think they have a winner here. Too much dead weight 9-12 IMO. If Blair is PTS, it’s back to Naylor for me.

May 25, 2015 3:44 pm

Blair did baseball central todayafter not doing his own show, which is kind of weird.

I believe this is Brunt’s last week before summer vacation.

May 25, 2015 3:54 pm

Should be a good week on PTS. Walsh tweeted it’s his last week and is bringing on all his favourite guests.

May 25, 2015 4:08 pm

I continue to listening to the Blundell show from 7 to 8 in the morning, and I think he continues to hold his own. But two things have jumped out at me that make me wonder if the ratings for the show are not what were expected:

1. I mentioned it in a prior column, but Sisely Honda is no longer the title sponsor for the 7:15 NHL insider after ages, and Audi seems to have bowed out as that sponsor after no more than 6 weeks.

2. His show delved back to Edge programming with “What Happened?” segment, in replace of “What’s wrong with you?” To me that signals they are grasping at straws to try and bring the demographic that would listen to that segment when he was on the Edge.

A little too much time is being invested in non-sport talk (ie. spelling tests). I don’t recall Brady & Walker doing such.

Not that Chris
Not that Chris
May 25, 2015 8:56 pm

Wow…Rogers taking Ryan Walsh from PTS to run the new Tim and Sid TV show tells you everything you need to know about who Rogers feels the face of their “sports talk” franchise is. It ain’t Bobcat No more.

May 26, 2015 12:51 am

I’m thinking Tim and Sid will be doing PTS in the not too distant future, once Bob’s contract finishes.

Don River
Don River
May 26, 2015 11:39 am

@ Neil

Bell, like Rogers, is a publicly traded company. It can’t be a “bank” for an enterprise in which it has no interest, just as Rogers couldn’t bankroll Edward Rogers. He used his own money for the Bon Jovi/Tanenbaum/Rogers family bid for the Bills.

I find it difficult to believe Bell and Rogers are allowed to own unequal parts of MLSE. Hard to see their arrangement work otherwise.

Toronto is the exact opposite of an untapped NFL market; it’s a fully mature NFL market. The problem with a team here from the NFL’s perspective is that Toronto doesn’t satisfy its two main objectives: expanding the market for NFL football, and increasing American network rights fees, which are based entirely on U.S. ratings. Canadian ratings are irrelevant in the setting of U.S. rights fees, which means the NFL would get little to no benefit putting a team here.

Whether a London team ever happens is uncertain, but the London experiment is real, ongoing, and successful. All but one of the eleven London games to date have attracted 80,000+ fans (all paying fans, unlike a certain other series of NFL games), and one of those was a game between two winless teams. There will be three more of them in 2015, so if that doesn’t qualify as translating well, I don’t know what does.

@ Mullah_Kintyre

“Rain is an anomaly in London? I don’t think so.”

Not what I said, but nice try.

@ koko b. ware

I’m not sure if the existence of the CFL actually does protect the NFL from anti-trust lawsuits, though I’ve heard the argument before. But I’m no lawyer.

May 26, 2015 4:41 pm

@ Mike In Burlington

No logistical issues?

1.An NFL game starting before 3pm in the east is Suggesting that the brits are ok with a game starting at 7,8,9 o clock ending close to midnight, A. How would the NFL accommodate the brits with a superbowl usually starting at 6pm, B. Would the team in London feature on Monday night football and would the viewership support it given the potential end time? as I suggested I think this creates a broadcast nightmare. Advertisers would want nothing to do with it. This is a concept designed for an occasional basis like a winter classic in hockey not a week to week basis. Other hurdles that this concept would face that no one mentions is free agents.2. Would free Agents be attracted or thrilled to go to a place where they will be very distant from their families for weeks? 3. What about rivalry, geographically how much miles will they be from any kind of rival, Rivals are not usually in a completely different time zone, it defeats the purpose. 4. How well will NFL football compete against the EPL, clearly football (soccer) is a religion in the U.K all year around, American football would be treated like hockey is treated in non traditional markets in the U.S or like Vancouver Grizzles were treated in Canada NFL would be playing catch up for years it would be a long hard battle against years of tradition. The NFL to the brits right now are equivalent to putting a large chocolate cake in front of a person that just had a three coarse meal, the person will look at the chocolate cake and tell you it looks good but there is no appetite for it right now as they are full from the three coarse meal. The meal will always come first and a brits three coarse meal is Football(Soccer) Football(Soccer) Football(Soccer).

Mike in Burlington
May 26, 2015 6:20 pm


“An NFL game starting before 3pm in the east is Suggesting that the brits are ok with a game starting at 7,8,9 o clock ending close to midnight, A. How would the NFL accommodate the brits with a superbowl starting at 6pm”

For an London NFL game to start at 1pm EST (the same time 8 games start every week now), it would be a 7pm GMT start, with the game over 11pm, the Brits would be fine with that.

The last owners meeting were discussing Super Bowls into 2020, and with a London team at least 5 years away from today, the question is moot, but never forget the 6:20pm start was chosen to maximize eyeballs on both coasts, and a noon GMT SB start would be fine in the UK.

“Would the team in London feature on Monday night football and would the viewership support it given the potential end time? as I suggested I think this creates a broadcast nightmare…..”

Actually this is a non-issue, it would only be 2 games out of a 480 game broadcast schedule, and that assumes there would be more than 1 Thusday, Sunday or Monday night game assigned to the Brit team, very unlikely.

“Other hurdles that this concept would face that no one mentions is free agents.. Would free Agents be attracted or thrilled to go to a place where they will be very distant from their families…..”

Again a non-issue it’s only 300 miles longer from NYC to London than from Seattle to Miami, with dozens of direct flights a day, and hundreds of players live on one coast and play on the other…

“What about rivalry, geographically how much miles will they be from any kind of rival, Rivals are not usually in a completely different time zone, it defeats the purpose…..”

A once valid issue, but a less of an concern in 2018 than 1998, its all about eyeballs watching, the Green Bay/Chicago battles, while once important to a local audience, just don’t matter like they did and they will matter lass as time passes, there are Packers, Cowboys Steelers fans everywhere.

“How well will NFL football compete against the EPL, clearly football (soccer) is a religion in the U.K all year around, American football would be treated like hockey is treated in non traditional markets in the U.S…..”

True, but money talks, bullshit walks and both the EPL and NFL both love giant bags of money, they would happily work around those 8 home dates with the billion$ at stake.

“The NFL to the brits right now are equivalent to putting a large chocolate cake in front of a person that just had a three coarse meal, the person will look at the chocolate cake and tell you it looks good but there is no appetite for it right now as they are full from the three coarse meal. The meal will always come first and a brits three coarse meal is Football(Soccer) Football(Soccer) Football(Soccer)…..”

Not sure what this means as it relates to London versus Toronto, but to say that there isn’t an audience for 8 or 9 NFL games in an cosmopolitan, mutli-national urban area of 12 million people seems a bit…odd…

The London experiment is not only ongoing, but a great success as far as the NFL is concerned, and it will continue, Toronto just isn’t a priority…

May 26, 2015 6:44 pm

@Don River

I am a Rogers shareholder regrettably, The company is publically traded but 80% controlled by the Rogers Family particularly Ed and Melinda Rogers through a trust that was setup by Ted. In saying this Ed can absolutely leverage his ownership in the company to aquire funds for an team purchase but we know this in not going to happen especially cause Ed was associated with speculation that he and Bon Jovi intended to bu and move the Team against Ralpth Wilsons wishes.

Bell cannot be a bank to Larry T?

Bell can absolutely be a bank this sort of backdoor dealing goes on all the time in the corporate world. Google bankrolled Yahoo to keep Microsoft from acquiring yahoo.

Bell or Rogers Who will be the majority owner of MLSE.

In the three way partnership between Bell Rogers and Larry T. Larry is sitting the nicest in all of this. Larry is the tiebreaker and has the first right of refusal on board decisions. There was nothing in the deal restricting Larry from tipping the scale to make Bell a majority owner through the sale of some or all of his stake in mlse.

NFL in Toronto

I wouldn’t exactly call Toronto a fully tapped into NFL market
I would from a standpoint of the deep pockets that exsist in this country the infrastructure and a rival market being a half an hour away,but in terms of developing players from grass roots to one day play in the NFL, Developing more programs geared towards playing football there is a lot of work to be done. NFL marketing also needs a ton of work.

May 26, 2015 6:47 pm

Argos, I always laugh about bragging winning the Grey Cup. Come on you got eight teams to compete with! It’s harder to win “Duggar son of the year” (boom current event smack lol)

The whole Argo thing is annoying, so they leave Skydome because baseball team wants to play on grass. But goes to Bmo, and ruins the grass field for TFC. I still don’t understand why they want to be leeches and not actually be leaders and join a local university that plays CFL style football and split a stadium with them. It would make more sense to build there sport in that fashion.

Blue Jays, They win a couple of games and the pom poms are out in full force at Rogers. They are going to make a run this time, seriously, because if the one team that deserves the benefit of the doubt it’s the team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 20 years. Blue Jays cheerleaders are like Charlie Brown and reality is Lucy with the football.

I think Jerry Sullivan is fantastic, I remember he had a twice a week segment on WGR radio in the afternoon with a truly horrible team of local yokels. It was amazing how much smarter he was compared to the radio hosts they have there.

Mike S
Mike S
May 26, 2015 7:08 pm

It was pretty interesting to hear McCown talk recently about a lucrative offer that he got many years ago from The Score……….apparently he came close to accepting it before deciding to stay at 590 for less money…………if he had accepted that offer it would have been a huge story

May 27, 2015 1:38 am

No EPL team plays their home schedule at Wembley, presunably where an NFL team would play. It does host england international matches (men and women) snd cup finsls and such. And things like tugby, concerts , … the stadium has huge debt, do they scehdule it to death. Im sure the FA would love 8-10 games a year.

I still they they would play at 3PM local, 10AM ET. and if the league wanted the london monarchs on mnf, they would do it when they were the visting team back in the us.

May 27, 2015 2:53 am

I have a feeling and I hope Im correct, that Mcowan will be bought out of his contract. For me that would be good riddance.

May 27, 2015 10:01 pm

Ed has no control to leverage Rogers funds into a team purchase. Ed wanted to buy all of MLSE and Nadir said it wasn’t ‘on point’. Ed would have to convince Guy Laurence about any significant purchase.

May 29, 2015 8:47 pm

Major thankies for the post. Keep writing.

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