How Would MLSE Sale Change Canadian Media?
March 15, 2011 Leave a comment
From Jared Clinton at 2 For Boarding:
After months of speculation from media outlets about when, and if, the OTPP would actually pull the trigger on the sale and move their stake in MLSE, the deliberation finally came to a head. La Presse reported early Saturday morning that OTPP has, in fact, looked into unloading their majority stake in the sports most valuable franchise. The supposed price-tag? 1.3 billion dollars for a stake of two-thirds. Though MLSE encapsulates far more than just the Leafs, they are the most important asset to the aptly named company.
But what does this mean for the game?
This could signal more than just a sale of the most polarizing of all Canadian sports teams. For the sports fan north of 45, the potential sale has lead to talks of a potential monopoly of the sports media market.
To use financial terms, the current viewership of the game in Canada is oligopolistic. We have three main networks which control our viewing; CBC (with it’s flagship broadcast Hockey Night in Canada), TSN, and Sportsnet. While the CBC is government owned, TSN and Sportsnet are privately owned and publicly traded companies that could have much to gain from the purchase of an incredible asset such as the MLSE. Bell Media*, the corporation set to own all assets involved with the television side of what was formerly CTVglobemedia, is the primary owner of all things TSN, including all affiliate stations. While TSN may be considered by those in the eastern provinces as the greatest power and at the forefront of hockey media, out west the tip of the hat often goes to Sportsnet — the station owned by media giant Rogers Communications — which boasts regional coverage that panders to the local fan and features programming specifically for those located in their markets.