The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin opens his latest column by admitting that:
Some parties disagree with our analysis of the Toronto Blue Jays’ TV revenue dilemma under Rogers Communications. Namely, the Blue Jays themselves and their acolytes in social media.
I don’t think I’m being too presumptuous in assuming that the snarky mention of “acolytes in social media” is in reference to this piece from the weekend, which refutes Dowbiggin’s connotation that Rogers Sportsnet is under cutting the Blue Jays on their payments for regional television rights.
Even though the newspaper writer states rather plainly that “increased market competition is resulting in enormous windfalls for MLB teams when they renew their regional TV rights,” he mischaracterizes arguments against his thesis as being based on the Rich Uncle Theory.
We’re a little tight for dough, but we have a rich uncle who we can tap for cash.
What Mr. Dowbiggin fails to address is that the very thing he credits with causing increased revenues from regional television rights deals doesn’t exist in Toronto. Despite the size of the Toronto and Canadian market, the level of market competition from television networks for the regional rights to Blue Jays games isn’t the same as it is for the Texas Rangers or Los Angeles Angels. In fact, that level doesn’t even exist for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are surely a more enticing option for advertisers.
Mr. Dowbiggin seems to tire of his straw man counter arguments, shifting the focus of his column from television rights to bemoaning the state of a Blue Jays franchise that failed to attract free agent Jose Reyes this off season, before coming up with the following bit of baseless speculation.
With the Rogers mother ship now partially owning the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC, the baseball boys are more likely to get lost in the shuffle – not get extra attention – than before.
Yeah, because it’s not like the corporate ownership of the Blue Jays has ever had to deal with overseeing multiple divisions of its products before. Oh, wait . . .
Rogers Communications does a fine job at looking after its wireless communications, cable television, home phone and internet services, as well as media outlets in print, radio and television. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the addition of three other sports teams would have a negative impact on the baseball team. Such speculation verges on scare tactics.
Since the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos and the return of Paul Beeston, Blue Jays supporters have been promised a franchise that can win on a sustainable basis. The organization’s framework for making good on this promise doesn’t seem to include outbidding others on free agent contracts. Whether that’s a restriction from ownership or the plan of management, we don’t know.
What we do know is that attaining success isn’t likely to be hindered by television rights or other sports franchises under the same corporate umbrella.
I’d love to see immediate success for the Toronto Blue Jays as much as anyone else, but building the type of winner that fans have been promised isn’t accomplished by merely throwing a ton of cash at free agents in one go. It takes time to build an organization, and to me, it seems that what has been built so far represent steps in the right direction.