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WANT THE JAYS? BE PREPARED TO TAKE ARGOS AND SKYDOME, TOO
Published June 9, 1995
Whoever buys the Blue Jays from Interbrew S.A. must be prepared to buy the rest of Labatt's sports holdings as well, according to this morning's FINANCIAL POST. Jamie Wayne writes that for franchises to be "economically viable," teams must own the facilities they play in. This would dictate that anyone interested in the Blue Jays would have to buy the SkyDome, as well as the CFL Argonauts and would likely be a major influence on any NFL expansion in Toronto. Wayne notes this will be a "tough sell" for Interbrew as Labatt had been unsuccessfully looking to package its sports properties as far back as 18 months ago. The effects of the MLB and NHL labor disputes have lessened interest, as has the price of this "hefty package": an estimated C$200M for the Blue Jays, US$175M for NFL expansion, and C$168M for Labatt's 42% stake in SkyDome (FINANCIAL POST, 6/9). The GLOBE & MAIL's Marty York reports that Orlando developer Norton Herrick is planning a pitch for the Argonauts. Herrick has been in discussion with CFL Commissioner Larry Smith about expansion in Orlando, but sees value in the Argonauts because of the terms of the club's SkyDome lease, which gives the Argonauts right of first refusal on all football played there. Herrick: "I have interest in both the CFL and the NFL. They're both good and potentially profitable investments, unlike the Blue Jays" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/9). BROADCAST PROPERTIES: The Winnipeg-based CanWest, Vancouver-based Alliance Communications, and Toronto-based WIC Western are all "possible bidders" for Labatt's broadcast interests. These interests include The Sports Network (TSN) and the Discovery Channel. CanWest has confirmed they have already begun negotiations for the assets worth an estimated C$600M (Robert Gibbens, FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/9). The GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston reports that a CTV source said the Canadian network "would probably not" make a offer for TSN (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/9).