Rogers and Bell have “bought” MLSE, the huge entertainment corporation that owns the Leafs, TFC, and other such stuff. They have done so together so that neither one gets the whole thing. I’ve been watching access to sport disappear on regular, OTA TV for many years, and this is a big deal. You will not see the Leafs for “free” anymore. No more CBC games. Same thing happened when Rogers bought the Jays. All games went to pay sports channels. I don’t care about basketball that much, but it will be the same.
Which brings me to the larger point. If these companies came by the means to buy this property, and use it to reduce access to local teams, for more profit, through good old fashioned competitive excellence, that would be one thing. But the actual situation is that the only thing that Rogers and Bell are good at is lobbying the government for the right to continue holding exclusive monopoly control over telecom, and the enormous cash flows they can pull out of the pockets of everyone in this country. Access to internet, phone and television should be a basic right, and it should be protected from this kind of rampant avarice. Avarice, I remind you, that is supported by massive and continuous transfers to all media companies in the form of advertising. Bluntly, this advertising chills the critical climate. Fortunately, you lucky readers don’t have to worry about this here. But imagine someone questioning the telecom monopolies at a newspaper or tv news show. Imagine an MP with a private member’s bill, proposing nationalization of some of this essential infrastructure, to save Canadians from being robbed continuously, while the same government permits this robbery. That MP would not get campaign contributions or Christmas cards from Rogers or Bell, would they? It’s an obvious solution, that cannot be discussed. Nationalize the Canadian telecommunications infrastructure. There is no reason for it to be in the hands of two out of control corporations, who exist solely to keep lobbying for their continued existence. The government has the power, and all of us would be better off for the judicious exercise of that power.
Basically, the Canadian regulatory framework has enabled the Leafs to be bought, by the very companies that control access to TV and that own most of the TV stations, so that they can eliminate any chance of not monetizing any aspect of the existence of the sport of hockey. If we are going to support that, we the people should own this infrastructure. It should be used for the benefit of the people.