A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sports

[URBAN NOTE] “Quebec City’s NHL dream most viable with franchise relocation”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Eric Duhatschek suggests that, to get a local hockey team, Québec City would be best advised to look for a team ready to relocat.e

Is Quebec City a viable business if the buy-in is $500-million (U.S.), which at Tuesday’s exchange rate is about $680-million (Canadian)? Consider that when the ownership in Winnipeg bought the distressed Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, it paid a quarter of the expansion amount – $170-million (U.S.). And that was at a time when the loonie was above par.

Winnipeg has been a smashing success at the box office. Every game is sold out; the love affair with the Jets is as strong today as it was when commissioner Gary Bettman originally announced the move.

But even at that, Winnipeg is a mid-market team that has to stick carefully and efficiently to a budget. The franchise remains on solid ground, though the loonie’s value has since fallen to 74 cents and player salaries are all paid in U.S. dollars.

But what if the buy-in for the Jets had been four times higher, as it would be for expansion teams? Could Winnipeg keep operating in the black if the cost of financing the Thrashers purchase was that high?


And however well the Quebec City franchise does at the box office, in merchandise sales and local television revenue, the market could not spin off enough cash to make a $680-million (Canadian) buy-in work. That is the NHL’s concern, even though Quebecor, the prospective buyer, has deep pockets.

So, while Bettman always discourages the relocation of teams, it would make far more sense for Quebec City to pursue an ailing franchise whose owners are weary of mounting losses. At that point, the cost of the transaction becomes a different financial equation – simply a business deal between an eager buyer and a motivated seller, with the price to be mutually negotiated.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s dream of landing NFL fading fast”

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The Toronto Star‘s Sean Fitz-gerald took a look at how the dreams of some for a NFL team for Toronto, or southern Ontario, have been fading.

Eight years ago, when the Buffalo Bills announced their extended plans for Canada, there seemed to be a real sense Toronto’s long-standing search for an NFL franchise was about to come to an end. Now, as NFL owners prepare to decide which of three teams (San Diego, St. Louis, Oakland) they will allow to relocate to Los Angeles, Toronto has never seemed quite so far away.

Here is a glimpse at how the landscape looked then compared to now:


Potential Ownership

On Feb. 6, 2008, Ted Rogers, one of the richest people in Canada, was sitting on a stage in Toronto, talking about a ground-breaking venture many believed was the first step down the road to relocating the Buffalo Bills. His eponymous communications company had agreed to spend $78 million to lease eight games over the next five years.

Rogers was estimated to be worth $7.6-billion, making him the second-richest Canadian.

“I think it’s a dream come true for the city, for the province” he told the room. “I think it’s a dream come true for southern Ontario. It’s a great opportunity.”

Bills in Toronto Series

Boosters had no doubt the series would succeed in Toronto. Phil Lind, vice-chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., suggested the next step would be for the Bills play a split schedule — with half their home games in Buffalo, the other half at Rogers Centre.

Organizers prepared a lottery system for the expected waves of ticket demands.

“In Southern Ontario, this is NFL territory,” Lind said in May 2008. “The CFL’s great, wonderful, terrific, but this territory is NFL territory, at least if you’re 50 and under. If you’re older, fine, you can go for the Argos or Hamilton or whatever.”

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO reports on five up-and-coming Toronto neighbourhoods.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly discusses one issue of migrants: where is home?
  • Centauri Dreams considers globular clusters as locations for starfaring civilizations.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes hot Neptune HD 175607b and brown dwarf Gliese 758b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the importance of Neandertal genes in the modern human immune system and notes the climate impact of eclipses on the climate of Titan.
  • Geocurrents maps crime in California.
  • Language Log notes the popularity of “they” used in the singular third-person.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests tariffs could play a useful role.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of the biomes of an Earth where the continents were tilted 90 degrees.
  • Nicholas Whyte notes J.R.R. Tolkein was a teacher of Mary Renault, and that the two writers were fans of each other’s work.
  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands shares photos from England.
  • Peter Rukavina notes his work in assembling a Schedule for Charlottetown transit.
  • The Russian Demographicsd Blog notes a global survey on the importance of religion in different countries.
  • Torontoist looks at political turmoil in pre-1837 Upper Canada.
  • Towleroad notes a gay couple that got on kiss cam in a Kings game.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests nationalism in Tatarstan is on the point of boiling over, notes the dire demographics of even large Russophone communities like those in Latvia, and notes the arguments of a Ukrainian who suggests the example of Belarus shows Russian should not be given official status.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross wonders how technologically advanced a civilization could become without literacy.
  • Crooked Timber notes paleocon Peter Hitchens’ take on the history of England.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on the growth of pebble-accreting planetesimals.
  • Geocurrents maps Tokugawa Japan as a multi-state system, perhaps not unlike the contemporary Holy Roman Empire.
  • Inkfish reports on crows given cameras which track their tool use.
  • Language Hat notes some remarkable Gothic graffiti from Crimea.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the very high levels of public debt in Brazil.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia wonder what will happen if Russia’s future turns out not to be Belarus, but Ukraine.
  • Spacing Toronto notes the time the Stanley Cup got stolen.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians now perceive Ukrainians as separate, looks at the hostile Russian reaction to pan-Turkic nationalism, and notes that the origins of Russia’s Central Asian migrant workers have been changing.

[NEWS] Some links on the November 2015 Paris attacks (#parisattacks)

  • Wikipedia’s page on the November 2015 Paris attacks is a good basic source of information, and further links.
  • Bloomberg had a collection of articles, one looking at how Parisians are coping the day after, another connecting this to France’s role fighting Islamist groups from West Africa to Syria.
  • CBC shared early social media footage.
  • Slate has terrible reports from the slaughter in the Bataclan theatre, which turns out to have been named after an amusing-sounding Offenbach operetta, Ba-ta-clan.
  • The Toronto Star noted how soccer fans at the Stade de France remained calm, even exiting singing “La Marseillaise”.
  • Vox, helpfully, notes that using these attacks to justify an exclusion of Syrian refugees overlooks that these are the people the refugees are fleeing.
  • The Atlantic‘s controversial article examining the roots of ISIS in Islam is a useful starting point, although this critical examination at Lawyers, Guns and Money is also worth noting.
  • MacLean’s shared reactions from around the world.
  • Wired reported on how the Facebook status updates of one Benjamin Cazenoves, trapped in the Bataclan, were widely shared, and also notes the wide use of the #porteouverte hashtag.
  • Quartz reports on the universal condemnation of the attacks throughout the Muslim world.
  • Esquire argues that the Middle Eastern oil states that funded ISIS should be held to task.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever makes the point that buying into ISIS’ rhetoric is a trap we must avoid.

[URBAN NOTE] “Bidding Farewell to the 2015 Blue Jays”

Torontoist’s Stacey May Fowles reflects, in the aftermath of the Blue Jays’ Game 6 defeat, on her fandom.

There was a moment in last night’s Game Six, during the seventh inning, when Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar offered his sleeve to teammate Ben Revere to wipe the blood from his arm. Revere, or “Benny” as Jays manager John Gibbons adorably called him during an in-game interview, had just miraculously launched himself into the air against the wall in left field, robbing Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez of what would have been game-changing double. Revere tore the skin on his arm in the process, and as Pillar casually gestured to offer to help the left fielder with his injury, I thought, “This is exactly why I love baseball.”

All of a sudden I realized that the real reason I love baseball is because it lets me see people be good to each other.

This is no small realization. I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out why exactly I care so much about this slow, silly, complicated game where men wear belts and literally run around in circles. I’ve tried to understand why it makes me feel all the intense feelings I do, why walking into a ballpark—any ballpark—has a unique capacity to clear out the buzzing in my head, to relieve me of anxiety, and to make me feel better about how truly terrible the world can be at times. I have thought about why I have so much affection for baseball because I feel like in some ways I owe it that consideration—this totally inexplicable thing that, at the risk of sounding extreme, came into my life and saved me. This thing that made so many things better when nothing else would.

And even though it felt devastating and unfair and not what Jays fans had all hoped for, I think last night’s eliminating loss to the Kansas City Royals finally gave me the very simple answer I needed. It finally made me understand. I really just want a place to see people be good to each other.

The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays were special. This is an undeniable fact, though trying to explain exactly why they’re special feels like an overwhelming task. Beyond their obvious athletic skills and achievements (I feel like I’ve seen Kevin Pillar fly a million times) there were dozens of tiny stories from these disparate men that filled our newsfeeds, that were passed around from fan to fan in the interest of attaching ourselves more and more to them with each passing day. There were surprising rookie ascents, solid veteran performances, and a trilingual journeyman first baseman who continually surprised. There were heart-warming sound bites of the appreciation they had for each other. There were even cute and colourful stories of popcorn in lockers, of team bathrobes and scooters, of affectionately assigned nicknames.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 26, 2015 at 4:44 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On finding myself an unexpected Toronto Blue Jays fan

As I type, Game 6 of the American League championship between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals is playing. It’s the bottom of the 7th inning and the score is 2:1 in favour of the Royals. Will the Blue Jays do it? Will they make it to Game 7 with a chance to win? Might the team win the World Series? All is unresolved.

Everyone who reads this blog likely knows I’m not a sports fan. I’ve found myself amused to be nonetheless caught up in this. The hopes of a city, or even a country, for a winning sports team are contagious. (Since the Expos left for Washington a decade ago, the Blue Jays have been alone in Canada.) A World Series victory would bring some much-needed joy to my city and country, I think.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 24, 2015 at 2:37 am


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