Rogers Communications to Invest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
Secures and accelerates delivery of premium content across Rogers
world-class distribution platforms
Sportsnet to drive interactive and personalized sports experience for
Canadians on the go
Builds on the company’s strong history in sports
TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2011 /CNW/ – Rogers Communications announced today that
it, along with Bell Canada, is jointly acquiring a net 75 percent stake
in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) from the Ontario Teachers’
Pension Plan. The investment advances Rogers’ strategy to deliver
highly sought- after content anywhere, anytime, on any platform across
its broadband and wireless networks and its media assets, while
strengthening the value of its sports brand, Sportsnet.
“MLSE is truly a world-class organization with some of the most iconic
brands and popular sports teams across North America,” said Nadir
Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, 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.”
Rogers has an extensive sports presence in Canada. The company owns the
Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, the Rogers Centre, and the
multiplatform Sportsnet brand. Today’s announcement further strengthens
Rogers’ commitment to the Canadian sports landscape and complements the
company’s strategic alliance with the Vancouver Canucks, including
naming rights for the Rogers Arena, and long-term media agreements with
the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, MLB, NFL, NBA,
MLS, CHL, NCAA, Rogers Cup, international soccer, UFC, and more.
“Sports is an integral part of our business and we’re committed to
Sportsnet being the number one sports media brand in the country,” said
Mohamed. “We’re passionate about sports and we look forward to building
Demonstrating its commitment to sport, Rogers has invested heavily in
rebranding Sportsnet and is the first Canadian sports media brand to
operate across five platforms: TV, radio, print, digital and mobile.
Most recently the company launched Sportsnet magazine, Canada’s first and only national bi-weekly sports magazine. At the same
time, this agreement enables Rogers to secure the best and most
valuable sports content for its consumers, its partners and its media
The company has invested substantially in leading-edge networks, such as
LTE, Rogers on Demand, Rogers on Demand Online and mobile applications
to bring Canadians the best content on their platform of choice. Most
recently, the company launched live streaming of marquee sports
properties, including Toronto Maple Leaf and Toronto Blue Jay games,
Rogers Cup, FIFA World Cup, NBA TV and NFL Network.
Rogers’ net cash commitment, following a planned leveraged
recapitalization of MLSE, will total approximately $533 million,
representing a 37.5 percent equity interest in MLSE, and will be funded
with cash on hand at closing. In a concurrent transaction, KSI
Investments, owned by Larry Tanenbaum, will increase its current 20
percent ownership interest in MLSE to 25 percent.
“I am excited to welcome our new partners Bell and Rogers,” said Larry
Tanenbaum, Chairman, 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
Once the transaction closes, MLSE will be jointly owned by KSI
Investments (25%), Bell and BCE Master Trust Fund (37.5%), and Rogers
Communications (37.5%). Tanenbaum will continue to serve as Chair of
MLSE and as a Governor of the NHL, NBA and Major League Soccer. Rogers
and Bell have negotiated long-term sports broadcasting rights for MLSE
content, at fair market value, for their respective television,
wireless, digital and radio assets.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is Canada’s preeminent leader in
delivering top quality sports and entertainment experiences to fans.
MLSE owns and operates the Air Canada Centre, the NHL’s Toronto Maple
Leafs, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, MLS’s Toronto FC, the AHL’s Toronto
Marlies, along with three television networks: Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada,
and GOL TV Canada.
The transaction is expected to close in mid 2012 and is subject to
regulatory and league approvals.
There will be a news conference today at 9:30 a.m. ET, which will be
streamed live on Sportsnet, Sportsnet.ca, Sportsnet 590 The FAN,
CityNews Channel, and 680News.
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements, Risks and Assumptions
This press release includes forward-looking statements and assumptions
concerning our business and its operations approved by management on
the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements and
assumptions include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to
our objectives and strategies to achieve those objectives, statements
with respect to our beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations,
estimates or intentions, including guidance with respect to the
closing, costs and benefits of the above mentioned MLSE transaction and
all other statements that are not historical facts. The timing and
completion of the proposed MLSE transaction is subject to customary
closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and
uncertainties including, without limitation, any required regulatory
and league approvals. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the
proposed transaction will occur, or that it will occur on the timetable
or on the terms and conditions contemplated in this news release. The
proposed transaction could be modified, restructured or terminated.
There can also be no assurance that the strategic benefits expected to
result from the transaction will be fully realized.
We caution that all forward-looking information, including any statement
regarding our current intentions, is inherently subject to change and
uncertainty and that actual results may differ materially from the
assumptions, estimates or expectations reflected in the forward-looking
information. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ
materially from those in the forward-looking statements or could cause
our current objectives and strategies to change. Therefore, should one
or more of these risks materialize, should our objectives or strategies
change, or should any other factors underlying the forward-looking
statements prove incorrect, actual results and our plans may vary
significantly from what we currently foresee. Accordingly, we warn
investors to exercise caution when considering any such forward-looking
information herein and that it would be unreasonable to rely on such
statements as creating any legal rights regarding our future results or
plans. We are under no obligation (and we expressly disclaim any such
obligation) to update or alter any forward-looking statements or
assumptions whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise, except as required by law.
About Rogers Communications
Rogers is a diversified public Canadian communications and media
company. We are Canada’s largest provider of wireless voice and data
communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable
television, high speed internet and telephony services. Through Rogers
Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised
shopping, magazines and trade publications, and sports entertainment.
We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and
RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). For further
information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit www.rogers.com.