Posts Tagged ‘sports’
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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.