Rogers steps to the plate in takeover of Blue Jays

Godfrey appointed prez, CEO of Toronto team

TORONTO — Toronto-based cabler Rogers Communications is going ahead with its anticipated takeover of the Toronto Blue Jays for $112 million.

Subject to the approval of Major League Baseball and Canadian broadcast regulators, Rogers has inked a deal to purchase 80% of the Blue Jays from the Belgian beer maker Interbrew in a half-cash, half-stock deal. Canuck beer maker Labatt (an Interbrew subsidiary) will retain its 20% stake in the cash-strapped baseball club.

In addition, Rogers has appointed Paul Godfrey president and CEO of the Blue Jays. Godfrey is a high-profile Canuck media figure, most recently as the head of Sun Media, a major newspaper chain in Canada.

As reported (Daily Variety, Aug. 18), control of the Toronto Blue Jays is a strategic coup for Rogers because it furthers Rogers’ vertical integration goals. In a press conference in Toronto on Friday, Ted Rogers held up a cellular phone and promised that Jays fans will eventually be able to watch the team on the phone’s screen. (In addition to its cable interests, Rogers owns a number of radio stations, a high-speed Internet and cellular phone service.)

Rogers’ next move would be to gain control of a national sports network such as CTV Sportsnet (of which Rogers already holds 30%) on which to show the Jays’ games. Though the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission’s current policy currently forbids cable companies from owning specialty channels, Rogers has been lobbying to change that.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Biz News from Variety

Loading