Archive for December, 2011

Imagine waking up one morning, rubbing your eye as it adjusts to the light, going over to start up the coffee machine and then turning on SportsCentre expecting highlights but instead find a press conference about how your favourite sports team (in my case, the Toronto Maple Leafs) have been sold along with the rest of their enterprise for over one billion dollars (Trust me when I say this: I did not need my coffee anymore, I was wide awake). I then watched this unfold and quickly discovered that it was Rogers Communications AND Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) who now each own 37.5% of the lot and Larry Tanenbaum, who owned a minority share before, now owns 25%. The first thing that came to mind was how great it will be to have new ownership (actually, the first thing that came to mind was something similar to this but that’s just because it seemed that the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan wanted to invest elsewhere some time and I’d, personally, rather see an ownership that’s committed to investing for a winner in place than not). With a new ownership in place and the need to get a new C.E.O. by January 2012, all the timing just seemed right to get a new owner/ownership group in place. However, is it the RIGHT ownership group to take over this enterprise? I’ve been wrestling with this over the past couple of days and feel that there are good and bad issues with this new ownership (Potential Winners, Potential Losers, and WTF-ers, per se). Let’s try to break this down:

BCE/Rogers – (obviously) they picked up one of the top NHL franchises out there, an NBA team that can potentially be a top-team because of the city, a very loyal soccer franchise and loads of property;
Marlies – I’m giving the Toronto Marlies their own line specifically because now that they’re owned by the two largest media outlets in Canada, there’s a good chance that more of their games can be televised regionally for more exposure;
Ontario Teachers Pension Plan – Congratulations! You’ve turned an NHL franchise in to a juggernaut of a cash-making machine, sold it at its highest possible value (minus bringing in a Championship to the city, so this is realistic) and now will move on to the next venture…carry on;
Fans – for pure fans of all the franchises that this falls under (Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Marlies), the fans have to feel like winners for the following reasons: possibility of more coverage of their favourite teams as quickly as possible (look how the Olympics is covered in Canada now because these two could play along for a short while);

Property – If there’s one thing about property, it’s that it’s never certain. For whatever reason, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Rogers/BCE were to sell off any of the property to another bidder once the market bounces back (what investment do they seriously have in any of it other than possibly turning it into another wireless store?);
Fans – A deal like this could completely blow up in the face of the fans…again. As fans, we could see a team that’s more interested in building their brand around the media company involved than building a winner that it’ll mean another 50 years without a title. One thing that was hammered into the press conference was that there is a need to give the fans immediate coverage of what’s going on (in the Olympics, it was viewing from your Smartphone/Tablet wherever/whenever) BUT if more time and effort is being put into developing the technology, who’s going to watch? And they’re creating more immediacy everywhere but the arena, so why go to the games? (just ask the other team Rogers owns, the Blue Jays, how hard it is to draw a good crowd);

WTF-ers (a.k.a. Head-scratchers):
This is dedicated to the unknown….

Leafs/Raptors TV
 – This is, by far, the most interesting thing that could come out of this deal. The two channels that are offered in specialty packages are now up for the possibility of movement OR cancellation. (WTF happens with them???);
Rogers/BCE Shareholders – One of the funniest things that occurred the day-of the announcement was when they took a look at the TSX and saw that BOTH stocks dropped a little after the announcement. (Let’s all pause a moment and really let that sink in….);
How the teams will be run – Let’s not forget something very important here: both Rogers and BCE have employed a LOT of former NHL personnel and Basketball employees who would LOVE the opportunity to get back in/get a chance with the big clubs. How will their application process go? (by the way, if Doug MacLean, Nick Kypreos, Marc Crawford and Bob McKenzie are to ever get hired on as Leafs personnel, I’m going to start referring to them as “The Apocalypse);
Fans – Finally, as a fan, it’s going to be interesting to see what direction this team goes. The main reason is because it feels like we’ve been down this road before: a new ownership group in place with deep pockets saying that they want to win and they want to get the fans involved BUT there seems to be WAY more at stake here than just winning a championship…the possibility to line their pockets with tonnes of $$$. As a fan, you have to wonder why else two media giants would ever want to buy this team other than for that reason and you also wonder how much longer you can go on with this club as your team if there really doesn’t seem to be a commitment to winning there.


Rotting Brain

Posted: December 5, 2011 in T.V.

I feel like my brain has been turned to mush. It’s one thing to take in bad television (looking at you, Jersey Shore! No explanation required….) but I’ve been going overboard the last couple of weeks. Every time there’s a new reality show, there’s a drive to one-up the last show with more fights, crying, immaturity or What-the-F*** moments than there should be in 30 minutes. The past couple of weeks I’ve watched two shows that have turned my mind to shut down and have zero faith in society (ironically, one show talks about faith…).  Without further ado…

Virgin Diaries:
A lot of people passed around this trailer of this new show on TLC; exploring the lives of virgins. Because of some interest I decided to sit down and watch the show (okay, I’ll admit that the What-the-F*** factor was high on this trailer so I had to watch it). The show investigates the lives of virgins and shows them from their first time kissing on the lips (yes, waiting until marriage to do that…MARRIAGE?!?!?!?!?!?) to those who have just never had sex because of religious beliefs. But then you’ll see this and just go wait….WHAT?????  Yes, there is such a thing as a reclaimed virgin which makes you spiritually believe that you’re a virgin again (even if you’ve had multiple partners as was the example in the show). I did everything in my power to try to wrap my head around this. I tried to reason with it, logically walk myself through it (maybe it’s like Christianity; she just ‘lost her way’ and wants to come back to…wait, NO!!! It’s not like that at ALL!!! Once this card is gone, IT’S F*****G GONE!!!!). This appears to be the most creepiest and illogical thing possible…or so I was lead to believe until I watched…

Kim and Kourtney Take New York:

I’ll admit that I never watched season one so I missed all the drama and I never saw what happened between Kourtney and Scott Disick in Miami, nor do I really care (and I care even LESS after hearing about “The Miami Incident” for the first two episodes). But I will say this about Kris Humphries: a lot of people have been making fun of him for being a big dummy but here’s a couple of thigs I’ll say to take his side (wow, as if I’m taking Kris Humphries’ side….god have mercy on me…):

1) He’s living with a kid which throws off his habits (Kourtney and Scott’s wee one…and like any child LOVES to be up before crack of dawn and pro athletes LOVE routine);
2) Kourtney is holistic, which can mess with anyone’s living if they’re not used to it (her oil enema leaked on his bed…yes, you read that right);
3) THEY HAD A NUDE YOGA CLASS IN THE LIVINGROOM WITH A DUDE AS THE INSTRUCTOR!!! (not that this would be acceptable the other way around…I’m not condoning this but IF you want this to go down, clear it with your significant other or roommates. Just common sense…)

All of that happened in the first episode and it’s no wonder why a guy who only cares about playing basketball and wanting to stay in shape during a lockout wants out. It wasn’t until part way through episode two that I found myself siding with Kris that I realized Oh, god…I’m SIDING WITH KRIS HUMPHRIES!!! After making my Onrait face, I quickly realized that this is what television has come to and needed to take a step back and let my mind rest for a couple of days. It was rough for me; I was putting milk in the cupboards, coffee grinds in the bathroom, and I still get woozy every time I pass the magazine rack at the grocery store because they’re on the cover of every popular Celebrity magazine out there. So, you’ll have to pardon me because my brain has turned to mush and I need time to recover and hopefully yours hasn’t.