Gary Bettman, Nadir Mohamed, and Keith Pelley yesterday in Toronto

Jeff Blair and his producers made the excellent choice this morning to have a brief exchange with Rogers Media president Keith Pelley, in order to get a statement from ownership themselves about whether and how the company’s new deal with the NHL, and their seeming “all-in” move when it comes to hockey in this country, will impact the Blue Jays.

You can hear the audio by way of a link currently at Fan590.com– or can go directly to the mp3 clip here– and while Pelley, frankly, says pretty much everything that you’d fully expect him to, it… uh… it sure feels good to hear him say it.

Here is a transcript of his comments:

Our commitment to sports has been unwavering. That has been something that we believe in, it is part of our DNA at Rogers Media, and at Rogers overall. So, if you actually look at what has transpired over the last number of years, we have bought theScore and re-branded it Sportsnet 360, we’ve bought 37% of MLSE, we invested in the Toronto Blue Jays from a players perspective, we invested from a promotional side and from the production side in the Blue Jays– we sent people down to training camp, and we did more pre-shows and more post-game shows than ever before. We’ve been aggressive in acquiring rights; buying the World Curling Tour; acquiring the Indy; acquiring the Tour de France; continuing to build our Sportsnet portfolio. And yesterday was obviously the pinnacle of all, acquiring the national rights exclusively for the next 12 years and now being the dominant sports player in Canada for the foreseeable future.

So what this means is, under no circumstance would we all of a sudden say, ‘Ah, we’ve spent all this money in hockey, we’re not going to invest in the Toronto Blue Jays.’ We’re committed to the Blue Jays– continue to be committed– and our goal is simple: we want to win the World Series. And you think about this: if we get an NHL team into the Stanley Cup Finals– preferably the Toronto Maple Leafs– broadcasting on all the networks, controlling all of that, while the Blue Jays were starting the season, and then watching that continue, and the momentum continuing right through? It would be spectacular.

So, if nothing else, people should look at it the other way, going, ‘They’re all-in on sports.’ We’ve said that we’re going to be Canada’s number one sports media brand– sports media leader– and we’ve demonstrated that in spades. And this is just another example of that. But it does not affect the Blue Jays’ payroll in any way whatsoever.

Asked about the possibility of a very crowded schedule for Rogers-owned stations when both the Jays are playing and the NHL is in full swing, Pelley dispelled any fears we might have on that, too:

We made the decision that we were going to show all 162 Blue Jay games; Sportsnet and Sportsnet One continue to grow, Sportsnet 360 is now in seven million homes, which is an option that you didn’t have before, and you also have CBC. If, in fact, we have a conflict– and we’ve already had this conversation with CBC– they are our preferred partner in all sports– so we even look at the Blue Jays on City, or on CBC.

Broad distribution for the NHL, providing as many games for fans as possible, while doing the exact same thing with the Blue Jays? That’s just– it’s exactly in our DNA to give the Canadian fans as much coverage as we possibly can of both hockey and the Blue Jays. We own the Blue Jays– 100% of them. We are everything Blue Jays. We made that commitment last year from a production and a programming perspective, and certainly I think that was some of the reason for of renewed interest in the team– that and spending the dollars, and the way that Paul and Alex have re-branded it, have certainly been a key part of it as well.

I think it was mostly the dollars, Keith, but whatever! That’s all pretty not bad, eh?

Now if only he could get this damn song out of my head (sung with his name instead, of course) we’d be golden!

Comments (98)

  1. It’s definitely good to hear about the commitment to all 162 Blue Jays games. I wonder what it means for non-Blue Jays MLB games (regular season and playoffs, or even something like the WBC), but at least the Jays will still be fully broadcast.

    Possible positive side-effect. Overrun could go to CBC or CityTV? Cable cutters could still get some baseball maybe, and that can only be a good thing to get exposure where there wasn’t before.

  2. Pelley’s comments make my loins tingle.

  3. However it was only 4 years ago that rogers gutted the jays payroll when the jays didn’t make the playoffs.

    • They didn’t gut the payroll because they missed the playoffs, though. They were starting a rebuilding phase… obviously payroll is going to decrease when you trade your highest-paid players for prospects.

  4. So doesn’t pelly just say what the jays payroll is going to be? It’s pretty hypocritical to say you want to win the WS but won’t sign any intl players, no free agents, no grass. Sounds cheap to me.

    • Yes tell every free agent and GM exactly how much money you have in your pocket, so random internet commenters are kept happy.

    • The Jays have literally said they’re going to put grass in the dome, and that they’re looking at free agents.

      • NOT GOOD ENOUGH! gsp needs the details, man!

      • WOW looking! hooray! hey they looked at darvish!

        • they also looked at fielder, crawford and pujols… those cheap fucks.
          god dammit i’m home and unemployed and have ran out of other things to bvitch about

          • those fucking idiots should just make every free agent that worked out well accept their money, but should do it with hindsight so they don’t get locked into bad contracts.

            • I think you’ve found the only way for Anthopoulos to silence the drooling dumbfucks in the fan base.

        • I seem to remember the jays being extremely active in Latin America. Exactly what is your position here? Rogers is rich so the jays should sign everyone?

    • Complete horseshit on the international players front (signing the big name guys isn’t the only way to spend in that market) and grass has nothing to do with being committed to a world series, so I don’t know what the hell you’re on about there. So what if they didn’t sign free agents? Signing FAs isn’t the only to spend money on getting impact talent. Or are you forgetting the fuck-ton of payroll they took on last season through trade?

    • They’re putting grass in you silly infant. Yes, we all know you have to stomp your feet and scream “now now now” but the rest of us adults are content to just harumph and move on with our lives.

  5. The more TV rights you acquire, the more star systems… I mean viewers, will slip through your fingers…

  6. Rogers can be given a pass as they have definitely shown upped committment to the Jays. In turn fans proved that they will come back as the product gets more and more competitive. Another positive in the last 3 or so years is that more and more young fans seems to be buying Jays merchandise, and paying attention to the team. Rogers serves credit for all of this.

    However as numerous financial publications show, and recent acquisitions have further proven is that Rogers/Jays should be second fiddle to no-one when it comes to payroll. They have as deep pockets as anyone in baseball or any pro sport for that matter. With a cap of $185 mill ‘ish, there are virtually no boundaries to Rogers spending. They could and should pay heavily into this club .. there is definitely upside in numerous revenue generators for the jays that could probably off set any investment in salaries!

  7. Damn straight. I know you’re never guaranteed a championship regardless of what you spend, but let’s do this right, right? Spend to the luxury tax threshold, if not more. Get what we need on the open market and retain our guys too.

  8. This is all great, but on a separate, more or less related note, it pains me a little to think what would have happened to 2014 budget if the 2013 season went more according to plan. Spring Training Vegas odds aside, if the Jays had been in contention through the end, maybe slipped into the playoffs and most importantly, had avg. attendance of 40,000 and TV audiences averaging close to 1 million (so notionally a 25% increase to the Jays’ revenue), what 2014′s potential payroll would look like.

    Not sure if that would mean we’d become the Dodgers, but would $150 become $180 and we’d be able to go after a Cano or McCann?

    A little bit of a pipe dream, but if the Jays had won 90 games and really boosted revenue, I’m firmly in the camp that the Jays could be a top-5 spender in baseball. While tv advertising revenues are lower in Canada, 1 million viewers for an RSN is unprecedented in baseball and would be worth a fortune in the mindset of content-valuing Rogers

    • They should be a top 5 spender anyway.

      • Not when that means flying so close to the luxury tax threshold. They should probably just keep spending prudently and fix the identifiable failings within the organisation. (Notably grass, if they determine that players really do wear out faster on turf.)

  9. Jays on the CBC, huh? Now I’m trying to imagine Stuart McLean doing some colour commentary.

  10. With all of the different platforms is there even a possibility of an overrun, at least as far as baseball is concerned? Even during the first round of the hockey playoffs it’s hard to imagine a scenario that would push a Jays game to the CBC, a network that features Kevin Glew as their lone baseball writer.

    • @Wayne it was Pelley who brought up the CBC option.

      I’m sure it would be the exact same Sportsnet crew, just aired on CBC (or City).

      That’s what they’re doing with hockey night in Canada. All Sportsnet crew and staff, with Sportsnet selling the ad time on CBC. CBC essentially becomes another Sportsnet channel for a few hours, and in return gets a load of viewers that they can show CBC promos to.

    • Worst case scenario would be if all 7 Canadian teams made the playoffs (bwah, ha, ha, ha!). With the playoff scheduling, that would likely mean four or five of the teams playing on the same night, with possibly some overlap between games if the eastern teams went into overtime. You’d potentially put the Jays on SN1 (early season games afterall, but still on a ‘national’ network), the big Canadian team (Leafs or Habs) on CBC, and the other Canadian teams on some combination of SN East, Ont, West, Pacific, and 360.

  11. Contrary to the frantic cluckings of the Chicken Little types that haunt message boards across the country – that statement doesn’t sound like an organization that’s going to slash the Jays’ payroll. I get the impression they know what an investment in a winning franchise will return to them.

  12. Baseball on CBC? I remember the days of Speedy Muffler Blue Jays Baseball!

  13. Hmmm… I had never thought through how much capital the successful return to the old Jays branding might have given AA and the Beest with Rogers Media management. More job security than we think? Business development pros? Hashtag playoffs not so important? Fuck…

  14. giveaway schedule is out. looks like i’ll collect a cowboy hat, bucket hat, and toque over the season to be stored safely, only to be worn semi-ironically in 20-30 years. really looking forward to being an old singleton with a scorecard and the radio in the ears, d00dz.

    • There’s an older guy I sat next to at a few games. He had the earpiece and radio and brought what looked like bahn mi subs from Chinatown with him. He would get posses everytime my son clapped or cheered.

      That is all.

  15. I hope that if baseball gets bumped it does go to CBC or City instead of SN360, since that’s the only one of the Rogers channels I don’t get. I’m not holding my breath on that one though.

  16. we also have vipbox

    sweet sweet lovable vipbox

    nuts to cable

  17. TSN will be looking for summer programming in a big way.
    More non-Jays MLB action perhaps?

  18. ^^^moron^^^

  19. Makes it sound like AA and Beeston aren’t looking over their shoulder as much as was feared. They should have job security through 2015, which is basically the deadline they gave themselves to deliver a winner.

  20. My understanding is that Rogers is trying to control the universe, and the universe includes both the NHL and the Jays. So no reason to think this impacts the Jays.

  21. The good news for Jays fans is that rogers realized the value of a good sports content.

    Hopefully, this will encourage Rogers to give AA some more payroll room so he can get some good players .

  22. Nolasco has agreed to terms with the Twins. I wonder if AA wanted him.?

  23. MLBTR has once again linked the Jays as wanting to trade for Samardjiza (?) . They go on to say there are as many as 8 teams interested. If thats the case, I dont see any way they CAN get away without offering both Stroman AND Sanchez

    • Doubt they would do that. I can see a sanchez, gose, and drabek package enticing the cubs.

      • @afdg

        That seems like too much unless smardjia signs a contract extension.

        Sanchez is the last of the Lansing Trio. AA can’t let him go.

        Drabek was the jewel of the Halladay deal.

        Gose is supposed to be our 4th OF

      • Anything including sanchez or stroman would be overkill.. While Samardizja is good, he’s not worth giving up such top pitching prospects for cause he only has 2 years of control.

  24. The only fuckin…..thing that gets me interested in this horseshit is that somehow this can improve the fuckin…tv viewing fucking experience for goddamn diehards like myself and all of you…
    I mean shit Pelley, fuckin you know…knows production…You gotta think he wants to throw big money at Dan Shulman to get him to come back and do TV….you gotta fuckin…(drinks) you gotta fuckin hope he can make this happen.

    I actually fuckin really like goddamn Buck Martinez when he does colour commentary…

  25. What are they going to say? That due to the deal with the NHL we’re going to slash the Jays’ payroll. Fuck. Dumb or what?

  26. 4 yrs 49 mil for Nolasco . . . geez . . . and to think that kinda money could have got you Dan Haren age 30 a mere 2 years ago

  27. Monies are not expensive for Rogers it is 300 million in the first year. Only 110 million more, annually for the whole country and they can create multiple platforms that were considered in the last contract. Costs are shared by CBC and 5 Canadian teams having their own localized tv similar to Leaf Tv.

    So the red herring of not investing in the TBJ is totally fallacious. Now all they have to do is spending money for all year healthy players.

  28. [...] Stoeten’s post today at DJF says there is a possibility that they farm out some Jays games to CBC in case of a conflict however [...]

  29. Lack of trade rumors today….. Hmm, let me throw out a topic to stimulate discussion: Ryan Braun’s Q and A with the media which is posted on ESPN.

  30. You had to know it was coming sooner or later, but the larger implications of CBC losing half their advertising revenue is kind of frightening.

    • + 1M

    • They still have hockey night in canada

      • ahhhh….no. All revenue and expenses for HNIC are being controlled by Rogers. HNIC lives on as a badge only with the future of the show’s employees dictated by Rogers decision making. Rogers has effectively rented CBC airtime as a platform for hockey (and likely Jays) broadcasts.

  31. It must be meticulously handled from mdia perspective as well as ffrom an innovatve perspective.
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  32. No rumours at all right. Ow…

  33. Phil Hughes?

  34. So we didn’t like Johnson at 14 mil, Nolasco or Hudson at 12 mil, or Haren at 10 mil, and all those deals were less than 4 year committments…

    What exactly is AA looking for this year? He must be aiming really high talent-wise, or really low cost-wise.

    And yes, I realize it’s not just about offering the money, and nobody wants our money, and whaaa, whaa, whaa…don’t tell me that everyone can’t wait to join the twins.

    • He’s looking for high talent, lowish cost and low risk. Basically a sure thing as it looks liek he’s done rolling dice and actually looking for solid investments now.

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