07.29.09

Brunt On The Jays’ New Economy

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 6:16 pm by

While Philadelphia’s acquisition of Cliff Lee earlier today dealt a serious blow to J.P. Ricciardi’s hopes of trading Roy Halladay (above) outside of the AL East, there’s some question of whether or not Toronto can get their story straight. When Rogers Communications purchased the Blue Jays from Interbrew, the former understood “the ball club had value beyond its own bottom line” writes the Globe & Mail’s Stephen Brunt. However, “In the past year, the world economy collapsed and Ted Rogers died, and those two events have undeniably changed the operating environment for the Toronto Blue Jays.”

There is a reason the NFL forbids corporate ownership of its franchises. When the first duty is the protection of shareholders™ interests and a sports franchise is but a single cog in a larger machine, decisions that can dramatically affect the product on the playing field can be mandated by issues far removed from sports.

Right now, the squeeze is on at Rogers, as it is in so many places. It is the responsibility and fiduciary duty of those managing the company to do what they can to improve the balance sheets. And while, under Ted Rogers, some aspects of the company may have been more protected than others, now all are viewed equally “ including a baseball team that by itself loses money every year.

œWe remain obviously committed to the Blue Jays, Nadir Mohamed, the president and CEO of Rogers Communications said yesterday during a quarterly conference call with analysts.

But that commitment isn™t romantic. It isn™t unconditional. It isn™t a fan™s commitment. It can™t include risking shareholders™ money in a terrible economy for what might be a once-a-decade chance to push the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, or to keep the best pitcher in baseball in the fold.

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