Rogers Communications Inc. may be wavering on its commitment toward owning the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Canadian corporation is weighing a possible decision to sell Major League Baseball’s only Canadian franchise, along with other high-profile assets, in order to free up capital for other investments, Natalie Wong of Bloomberg.com reports.
Rogers chief financial officer Tony Staffieri said at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York no deal is imminent but provided a level of specificity regarding Blue Jays-related plans that hadn’t emerged previously. Staffieri said, via Wong, the Toronto-based company still wants to have a sports programming presence but doesn’t have to own a team to do that. The company has a 12-year agreement with the National Hockey League.
This possible decision would be so Rogers can increase its investments in its wireless network, Wong reports, adding Rogers’ media business represented 15 percent of the company’s sales in 2016 but approximately “3 percent of its operating profit.”
Rogers Communications has been the sole owner of the Blue Jays since 2004. Prior to that, it owned a share of the franchise at 80 percent, while another company held a 20 percent stake in the team. The Blue Jays, of course, play in the Rogers Centre — the former SkyDome that was renamed for its current ownership in 2005.
Considering how long the company has held the sole stake or the majority stake in the organization, such a move by Rogers would certainly be seismic for the only non-American MLB operation.
The team struggled for the first decade-plus of Rogers’ ownership, extending a playoff drought to 21 seasons after the 2013 campaign. But Toronto saw its team book three straight playoff berths — including a run to the 2015 American League Championship Series — from 2014-16.