MLSE to acquire the Toronto Argonauts

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MLSE joins the Grey Cup party

In what could be described a case of FOMO, Rogers has joined Bell and Larry Tanenbaum (Kilmer Sports) as owners of the Toronto Argonauts. Since Bell and Tanenbaum took control of the Argos in 2015, the team has made a number of steps in the right direction both on and off the field such as moving from the cavernous Rogers Centre to BMO Field, hosting a Grey Cup, and now winning their first Grey Cup title since 2012. The sale to MLSE signifies another step forward for the franchise, and will likely help further solidify the CFL in the league’s largest market.

“We look forward to building on the Argos’ strong momentum as we welcome the team to the leading provider of sports and entertainment experiences in Canada.”

– Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO of MLSE.

Buy low, sell high?

Are the Blue Jays next on MLSE’s Christmas wish list? Rogers bought the Blue Jays at the turn of the millennium for $122-million US. The team is now valued at a cool $1.3 billion US according to Forbes, which has Rogers evaluating the possibility of putting the franchise on the block. Rogers also bought Rogers Centre, or SkyDome, in 2004 for pennies on the dollar. MLSE seems like an obvious suitor for a couple of reasons: they now own every Toronto pro sports team besides the Blue Jays, and as an owner of MLSE, Rogers would still be able to benefit from the team. However, a sale will undoubtedly generate interest from a number of groups. Case in point, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (remember them?) said they “may end up looking at” the Blue Jays if they do go up for sale.

A Bloody Big Deal

According to Numeris, an average audience of 1.3 million Canadians tuned into TSN to watch Toronto FC capture their first ever MLS Cup last weekend. The game was the most-watched program on December 9th in the Toronto market, and it beat out Rogers Hometown Hockey’s nationally broadcasted game between the Leafs and Oilers (1.17 million) the next day. Thanks to Toronto FC’s historic season, overall viewership for MLS in Canada was up 25% compared to last season, with double-digit growth in the key A18-34 (+40%) and A25-54 (+28%) demos.

Year on Twitter 2017

Despite missing the playoffs, the Blue Jays still won the year in terms of Twitter conversation in Canada; Tristan Thompson and Genie Bouchard were Canada’s most mentioned active male and female athlete accounts; and Sidney Crosby was the most mentioned NHL player on Twitter in 2017. Twitter Canada’s Christopher Doyle looks at athletes, teams, and trends that owned the sports conversation on Twitter this year. Get the full review in the link below.

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Sports Business Canada

Covering the top stories at the intersection of sports and business in Canada.