Archive for the ‘Rogers Communications’ Category


On Thursday, March 28th, Simon Houpt wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail that was titled, probably not by him, As Rogers circles the Jays, it’s tough to tell press from fans.

Shots fired, huh?

In it, Houpt gets specific about these charges.

[Rogers Media president Keith] Pelley’s enthusiasm [for the synergy between the Jays and the company's broadcasting platforms] may get equity analysts and shareholders excited, but it can make sports journalists – and regular sports fans – feel kind of icky. In the most recent issue of Sportsnet magazine, their marquee sports columnist Stephen Brunt wrote a fawning article about the great chemistry between the Dominicans playing for the Jays. (The column promoted a 30-minute special Mr. Brunt hosted for the TV network called Up Close: Dominican Blue Jays.) How are we to tell that he’s applying any sort of critical eye to the subject?

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cable TV cord cutting

There’s some news today for the ever-growing segment of Jays fans who have cut, or are waiting for a thing like this as a reason to cut, their home cable TV cord. I’m not sure it’s particularly great or impactful news, but… it’s news, as Michael Oliveira of the Canadian Press, via the Toronto Star, writes that “Rogers says it may sell digital streaming of Toronto Blue Jays games and its Sportsnet channels to non-TV subscribers.”

He goes on to explain that this “small segment of consumers” who have discovered the internet, and the largely pointless expense that is cable TV, can get most of the content they want legally online (and often for free), but have trouble finding ways to legally stream sporting events. This is true, though if you want to be technically correct, there seems to be no clear answer to the question of whether accessing via a VPN, while a clear violation of the terms of service, is actually illegal. Either way, it’s is just as morally murky, too.

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I love this team, but I hate this ad campaign.

For the first time in two years, the Blue Jays marketing team has produced a set of Opening Day (Week) commercials that make you roll your eyes more than make you excited for the season to come.

It’s not hard to get Blue Jays fans excited for the season. Formula: show the Jays defrosting at Spring Training after the hellish Canadian winter, mix with player close ups on a soundstage and highlights from the past season. Overlay a song with the word “home” in it. Done and done. But this new team needed something better, didn’t it?

Embracing Twitter as part of a team’s marketing strategy is smart; making it the focus of an entire ad campaign is cheesy and narrow. Tweeting Tuesdays? Fine. Twitter Shirseys? Ugh. A hashtag as the team’s central slogan?  The Blue Jays social media consultant is either insanely persuasive or Nadir Mohamed’s niece.

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I don’t happen to be a Rogers customer, so forgive me if I’m not terribly well versed in this stuff or am entirely missing something here, but my understanding of the way their Rogers On Demand service– or Rogers Anytime TV, or whatever they call it– applied to the Jays was that if you were a Rogers customer you could register with your account information in order to access a feed of the game online.

A press release from the time the service was announced, in August 2011, states rather emphatically that “Rogers On Demand Online is available to any Rogers Cable, Wireless, Home Phone or Hi Speed Internet customer at no extra charge,” and it’s my understanding that that’s continued to be the case… it seems, until now.

Or, at least, that’s what would appear to be what you’re told when you look to the FAQ on the Jays page of the Rogers On Demand website, as a commenter on a post at Getting Blanked suggested we do earlier in the week.

Money quote:

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With news that Windows restaurant would be getting a makeover this off-season we’ve been sort of, half-assedly, following the project along… at least anytime someone manages to point a camera in the direction of its most recent stage of development. And that’s what reader @jonathannorris did recently– or, at least, someone whose picture he got his hands on– tweeting the pic above in my direction this morning, showing significant progress from the last time we’d seen an update.

In that post you’ll remember that word was Paul Beeston had spoken of “some $250 million in retrofits and renovations will be required in the next decade to modernize the facility,” of which the Windows project was a part. It will be an open air porch, accessible to all fans, with picnic tables and whatnot (or something), beginning this season.

No, you’re mailing in a post.


Above: The space formerly occupied by Windows restaurant, seen from the main concourse, looking to out to right centre field. You can see the Rogers Centre logo on the panel above a small group of seats that were previously squeezed in front of Windows, as seen one section to the left of the “All You Can Eat” section in this picture.

MLB, MLBPA Announce New Labor Agreement

Today (well… OK, two days ago) in non-news news, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports goes out of his way to make a well-understood point that sometimes gets a little lost in all our fawning over Rogers’ sudden benevolence this winter: if you’re looking for someone to thank for the Jays’ transformation this winter, maybe try looking to MLB commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner.

To wit:

A little-known aspect of the CBA — the market-disqualification program — is helping force a select group of teams to operate more competitively than they did in the past.

The way the program works, revenue-sharing proceeds for teams in the 15 largest markets will decline by set percentages over the next three years, and disappear entirely by 2016.

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Though only two days old, already there has been a tidal wave of reaction to The Trade, as it’s reach goes far beyond the two markets involved in the deal, and far beyond just the world of sports– it has been a lead story around here this week, not just in sports but in news. For me there remain thousands and thousands of words still to sift through on the subject, and it feels as though I’m endlessly falling beind on them, as my focus has been more on the day-to-day movements in the wake of the deal, and less on what’s being pontificated elsewhere.

One story that immediately caught my attention, however, as I’ve begun the process of reading and filing the ever-growing items in my RSS feed for a major trade reaction piece, comes not from one of the usual suspects, but from the business pages of the Globe and Mail, as Paul Waldie and Grant Robertson go deep into the economic side of the deal, managing to lay this nugget on us in the process:

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