Rogers & Bell Buy into Canadian Sports Franchise


TORONTO: Rogers Communications and Bell Canada have come together to jointly acquire a 75-percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

The deal splits the radio and television rights for MLSE’s NHL franchise of the Maple Leafs. Rogers’ Sportsnet and Bell’s TSN cable networks are likely to share the TV schedule for the games. The deal is worth some C$1 billion ($978 million.

This is not the first time that Bell and Rogers have partnered on sports before. The two previously formed a consortium that bought the Canadian rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Games in London.

"MLSE is truly a world-class organization with some of the most iconic brands and popular sports teams across North America," said Nadir Mohamed, the president and CEO of Rogers Communications. "We’re excited to partner with MLSE to create highly interactive and engaging experiences for hockey, basketball and soccer fans, creating the perfect marriage of content and distribution. This investment fits squarely into our strategy of securing premium content and making it accessible to Canadians when, where and how they want it."

"Sports is an integral part of our business and we’re committed to Sportsnet being the number one sports media brand in the country,"  Mohamed added. "We’re passionate about sports and we look forward to building championship teams."

"I am excited to welcome our new partners Bell and Rogers," said Larry Tanenbaum, the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "I am proud this is a Made-in-Canada deal that will bring resources and expertise to help us win on and off the ice, court and pitch. This is a terrific path forward for our teams and our fans.  It will ensure MLSE continues to make a positive impact in Toronto and across this great country of ours."