So Bell and Rogers have joined forces to purchase controlling interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Bell and Rogers are direct competitors in the telecommunications business. They beat up on each other every day for your cell phone business and your land lines. Bell owns TSN and Rogers own Sportsnet. So they compete for advertising dollars and viewers on sports television every day. Bell also owns an interest in the Montreal Canadiens.
Ok first let me start with these two company’s core business. They are in the telecommunications business. A business that in Canada is protected by the CRTC. Protected because to assure that all Canadians have access to telephones, both land lines and cell service, our government feels it is necessary to guarantee these company’s profits by not allowing outside competition. As a result of this protection, we pay some of the highest cell phone rates in the free world! That’s right. While these companies earn record profits from Canadian consumers the government protects them from competition.
They then reinvest these profits by going into the broadcasting business by buying up Canada’s network broadcasters. Bell owns CTV and Rogers owns many television and radio stations.
Then they set their sights on the Canadian sports world. Rogers already owned the Toronto Blue Jays.
Remember all of these purchases are with dollars generated in a business where they are suppose to be competitors but thanks to our government protecting them from any real competition they generate uncontested record profits. I am about as right wing a free enterprise, capitalist, Conservative as you could find. So I have nothing against profit. Profit makes the world go round. What I am against is government intervention protecting profits at the expense of the tax payers. I am against companies that are supposed to be competitors climbing in to bed together. These two companies are just a little too close for my comfort level.
Then there is the whole NHL/Independent teams/Broadcaster/Ownership conspiracy that this situation just begs for. This will make a great movie some day because only in fiction could this really exist, right.