stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Raptors' ascent proves a winning move for MLSE owners
space
space
By CHRISTINE DOBBY
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Saturday, June 15, 2019 – Page B2

It was an odd partnership with his biggest rival that brought lifelong basketball fan George Cope to Oracle Arena on Thursday night, when he and Edward Rogers celebrated on the court with the Toronto Raptors.

The chief executive of BCE Inc.

and the chairman of Rogers Communications Inc. have been coboard members of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment since 2012, when their companies paid more than $1-billion to acquire 75 per cent of the Toronto sports juggernaut. The deal gave the telecom giants, which fight for internet, television and wireless customers, control of a trove of sports assets, including the Toronto Maple Leafs - and the Raptors, now the National Basketball Association champions.

"When we created this partnership, people were wondering how it would work," Mr. Cope said in a telephone interview as he waited to board a flight home from California on Friday, the day after the Raptors' series-clinching victory over the Golden State Warriors.

"It's successful because we were all aligned on a common goal, which was to win," he said, noting it was easy to agree with Larry Tanenbaum, who owns the remaining 25 per cent of MLSE, on that objective. That meant appointing strong leaders at each of the MLSE sports franchises, including Masai Ujiri as the Raptors president.

"Masai could have been comfortable with a very successful team, one that was always in the playoffs. But instead he made dramatic changes," he said of moves the manager made, including a trade to bring all-star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.

"When the team's successful, so is the broadcast part of it," Mr.Cope said. BCE-owned TSN and Rogers-owned Sportsnet split the broadcast rights for Raptors games.

Tony Staffieri, chief financial officer of Rogers, said the familycontrolled company, which also owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, sees its sports investments as "generational assets," adding, "it's not so much about the ownership and rights, but what it does for the city."

But Mr. Staffieri, who is an MLSE board member, said he always thought the deal made strategic sense. "Live sports was something that would only increase in relevance and, therefore, increase in value. ... In the case of the Raptors - and we have a similar view with the Jays - it's for the country. Both of these teams have become national brands and it's been really nice to see that vision come to fruition."

The Raptors' appeal across the country delivered a ratings victory to Sportsnet and TSN. Almost 16 million people watched at least part of Thursday night's Game 6 final on one of BCE-owned Bell Media's channels (TSN, its French sports network, RDS, and its conventional television network, CTV). Earlier in the week, Game 5 reached 13.4 million Canadians on Rogers's broadcast properties.

"When you have content that is driving such excitement across such a number of different demographics, it's really a jewel of an opportunity for advertisers," Stewart Johnston, Bell Media's president of media sales, marketing and TSN, said in an interview on Thursday before the game. He noted the number of female viewers of ages 18 to 34 doubled during the regular season this year. That helped TSN attract six new sponsors for Raptors broadcasts, he said, bringing the total to 15.

"We've brought new fans to the table. It's a very diverse, very young audience," said Bart Yabsley, president of Rogers Mediaowned Sportsnet. "Brands want to be associated with positive energy like that," he added, noting advertising revenue for the Raptors and the NBA playoffs was up about 350 per cent this year compared with last year.

Mr. Johnston and Mr. Yabsley said they sold out or mostly sold out advertising spots for Raptors playoff games. And sign-ups spiked for digital streaming services (Rogers has Sportsnet Now and Bell offers TSN Direct), with some customers choosing oneday or one-week packages to watch a game or two and others taking longer-term options.

"For the finals alone, we've had 20 million views of Raptors content on TSN's Instagram account," Mr. Johnston said, adding that sports website TSN.ca has attracted eight million page views since the NBA playoffs started, up 50 per cent year over year.

Thanks in part to promotion from MLSE and NBA Canada, which scheduled preseason Raptors games in cities including Montreal and Vancouver, the team has picked up fans across the country, Mr. Johnston said.

"They really set the stage for the rocket ship that this playoffs has been in making the Toronto Raptors Canada's team."

The ratings were undoubtedly a relief for Rogers, which owns the national hockey broadcast rights. The Leafs made the National Hockey League playoffs this year, but lost in the first round, and with few Canadian teams in the running, ratings were down sharply.

Broadcasts of the NHL playoffs dropped out of the top 30 programs for English Canada for three weeks in late April and May, according to Numeris data. As the Stanley Cup final got under way on May 27, hockey squeaked back in, but barely cracked the top 10 for the week ended June 2 (the most recent numbers publicly available).

Although hockey delivered smaller-than-usual audiences, Sportsnet was able to shift some of its advertisers to the Raptors or other NBA playoff games.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main David_Macfarlane Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page