From The Star’s Dave Perkins, link courtesy of Jon Solomon :
The Blue Jays finally will own their own ball yard, possibly as soon as today.
The long-awaited sale of the SkyDome to Rogers Communications was in the final stages of being negotiated on the weekend, including last night. It should be formally completed and announced this week and possibly today, according to multiple sources.
The stadium was state of the art when it opened, mostly at taxpayer expense, in 1989 with a final cost of more than $600 million (all figures Canadian). Rogers will buy it from U.S.-based Sportsco International LP (limited partners) for something approaching $30 million.
Due diligence had been taking place over the past several weeks, since Sportsco, which bought the stadium out of bankruptcy proceedings six years ago, began to feel a financial crunch and became more agreeable to selling. The death this past summer of Alan Cohen, one of the principals in Sportsco who lived in Florida, also played a factor.
This deal has been rumoured before as being imminent. This time, apparently, they’ve either tied the knot or are at least at the altar.
So let the speculation begin about the future. The Jays, with the SkyDome as part of the package to maximize value, will become more attractive to a buyer should anyone wish to come up with the cash to take the money-losing team off Ted Rogers’ hands. He has owned the club for five years, losing large but decreasing amounts on baseball operations, yet still gaining the all-important television programming ” Canadian content, too ” so vital to his media empire.
If ownership of the SkyDome can make the Jays a profitable venture, Rogers may wish to maintain his ownership position. He has said he intends to stay with the Blue Jays for the long haul, although executives within his own company suggest it should get out of the baseball business. The constant financial squeeze on team payroll has led to frustration being openly voiced by general manager J.P. Ricciardi, but it remains to be seen how the synergy of team and stadium will change the dynamic of spending.
There have been reports, most reasonably well founded, that Ted Rogers intends to rename the building the Rogers SkyDome. It has lacked a corporate name since it opened, but expect that to change once the deal does down. Which should be any time now.