CRTC Approves Sale Of Maple Leaf Sports And Entertainment To Bell And Rogers
August 17, 2012 at 4:48 AM (PT)
The CRTC has approved the deal by which ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS, parent of ROGERS RADIO, and BCE INC., parent of BELL MEDIA RADIO, are partnered to buy a controlling interest in MAPLE LEAF SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT LTD, the owner of the NHL's TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, NBA's TORONTO RAPTORS, MLS soccer's TORONTO FC, and the AHL's TORONTO MARLIES, as well as AIR CANADA CENTRE, the arena in which the LEAFS and RAPTORS play, from the ONTARIO TEACHERS' PENSION PLAN.
ROGERS, which also owns baseball's TORONTO BLUE JAYS and stadium ROGERS CENTRE, and BCE is paying C$1.32 billion for a 75% stake in the company (each paying C$533 million and taking a 37.5% share), with LARRY TANNENBAUM, who will remain as Chairman of MLSE, increasing his stake (through KSI INVESTMENTS) from 20 to 25%. The CRTC added a requirement that BELL and ROGERS spend C$7.5 million over the next three years on creation of new sports-themed programming by Canadian independent producers.
The deal also splits radio and television rights for MLSE's most valuable property, the MAPLE LEAFS. In an unusual arrangement, ROGERS Sports CJCL-A (SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN)/TORONTO and BELL's Sports CHUM-A (TSN RADIO 1050)/TORONTO will split the LEAFS game broadcast schedule in a manner to be determined, with ROGERS SPORTSNET and BELL's TSN cable networks likely to share the television schedule. MLSE also owns cable channels LEAFS TV, GOL TV, and NBA TV CANADA and two new channels yet to launch, MAINSTREAM SPORTS and LIVE MUSIC CHANNEL.
“When deciding whether or not to approve a proposed ownership transaction, the Commission must be persuaded, in light of the application and the public record that an approval is in the public interest”, said CRTC Chairman JEAN-PIERRE BLAIS. “In this case, we have been convinced that the transaction benefits Canadians as it will lead to the creation of new home-grown sports programming.”