Why Doesn't Bell Buy a CFL Team?

To me it seems like a no brainer. Rogers and Bell are both big in the sports ownership game right now, as they co-own NHL (Leafs), AHL (Marlies), MLS (FC), and NBA (Raptors) teams. Rogers also own an MLB (Blue Jays) team on their own, as well as naming rights to two pro sports complexes (Rogers Centre, Rogers Arena). Both also own their own national sports network (Bell and TSN, Rogers and Sportsnet). While Bell does own a lot, they seem to be pretty clearly behind Rogers (one less major team, no arena/stadium names, no national NHL hockey) and could benefit from some more sports properties. In my view a CFL team is a perfect fit for them because Bell has the exclusive rights to broadcast every single CFL game, and no longer can broadcast national NHL games. If Bell was one of the owners of a CFL team, and of TSN than they would have double the reason to promote the CFL. CFL doing good, would mean Baffin Island Bells (or whatever they would be called) doing good, would mean TSN doing good, would mean Bell making money. Now there seem to be two major options of teams they could own. One would be the Toronto Argonauts, which obviously have the potential to make a lot of money being in the most populous city. But owning the Argos could also give them some influence in keeping a Rogers owned NFL competitor out of Toronto. The second option would be a Halifax team. This would be a good option because they would have to build a new stadium, and could keep the naming rights to themselves. Why hasn't Bell come publicly forward with interest in owning a team?

Good read OttSens. I think an NBA team for The Bell Centre in Montreal is the best fit although that's going to cost a load of money but the arena is already there. I'd rather not see the carrier of all the CFL games actually own one team to be honest, just my opinion. Although owning the Argos and elevating them to the most prestigious team in the CFL, if that's possible, would make everyone envious of the Argos, again if that's even possible, and that could be a very good thing for the league and Bell. Hostility and jealousy does sell I will say.

As a publically traded telecom company, BCE has to answer to its shareholders - most of whom want yield, yield and more yield. If you were to tell them they were going to get less of a dividend increase to save the Argos, CEO George Cope would be hung by his private parts. A 75 year old who is living on BCE's dividends isn't worried about the long term health of the company, the CFL, the Argos or TSN.

Anyways, it's a nice idea and I hope it happens (with the Argos) but don't hold your breath.

Who is to say they may not be one of the mystery suitors for the Lions?

no but the company still needs to attract younger investors (18-49) keen on long term growth ala the Buffet method, a sector which remains a larger combined reservoir than the retired group.

and Bell's sports properties/media Division still need to maintain pace/growth in this highly competitive industry lest Rogers (or others) take market share which will harm the company's bottom line regardless.

Any company needs to spend money on advertising/marketing/branding to keep attracting customers, especially customers with money and ones that could be long time customers as in younger people. Of course every company does that differently and has different plans.

That's fair and I PRAY that I am wrong and BCE buys the Argos. I just wouldn't bet my last dividend cheque on it.

You're right but as a holder of BCE stock, I was one of the people who screamed when BCE ONLY raised their dividends once in 2014. There are many, many more like me. We want the dividend raised twice a year - BCE has been moving in the opposite direction. While I would happily accept a slightly smaller dividend to support the Argos, 99% of BCE share holders would not.

Kevin, not saying that they should purchase the Argos even invest in sports in any way as I don't know anything about marketing and branding. But you have to agree, Bell must brand itself and market itself like other companies do, not in the same way but in a way that makes sense. How return on investment in marketing/branding is measured, I have no idea, I'm not a business guy at all.

Rogers has decided the NHL is a big part of their overall marketing/branding plan with that crazy deal as well as investing in the perennial money losing MLB Blue Jays. How well that turns out in the long run, don't know. I'd love to see Bell actually really go into a saving our natural environment and forests, fresh lakes, wildlife etc. thing to be honest. As well as investing in the CFL even more.

I agree with you, Earl. I believe BCE needs to step up because Rogers is kicking their @ss in the Sports Arena. They need to protect the their investment - the CFL. Having said that, I don't see it happening. However, I am often wrong and I PRAY I am wrong here.

But how important is sports? The perception is that it is important but in reality, is it to a company like Rogers and Bell? I guess it must be though with how much they both spend on sports, maybe I've answered my own question. Music is big as well.

Rogers feels it's important. BCE, not so much. I own shares in both companies...

Rogers is a race horse. Investing to hit a home run knowing they may strike out.
BCE is the tortoise. Slow and steady.

Interesting analogies. I know for myself sports is losing the battle to other issues and my time. I'm just getting sick of watching interviews with these big sports guys who make gadzillions of dollars playing whatever sport and it's all like some big entertainment thing. I'd much rather have my kids looking up to scientists and people who earn a living doing regular work without all the media sports glitz. Don't get me wrong, sport is excellent for our youth to be involved in, helps develop the body and have players learn the value of teamwork and all that. But these pro sports athletes that are put on a pedestal as role models and big entertainment stars we all should look up to, not working for me as it used to when I was a kid. But hey, if I was talented enough to make money playing pro sport, that's what I'd be doing I'm sure, I ain't that smart that's for sure and I loved playing sports for much of my life, especially younger life.

I found this (didn't look for something similar at Rogers). Good stuff BCE!

Caring for future generations - Minimizing our environmental impact in everything we do

[i]A deep commitment to environmental protection is essential to Bell’s corporate goal to be recognized by customers as Canada’s leading communications company. It aligns with our sustainability vision and with our strategic imperative to achieve a competitive cost structure. Just as important, the commitment to minimize our carbon footprint and instil stewardship of the environment into every aspect of our operations reflects Bell’s values. And finally, it is simply the right thing to do for our fellow Canadians and for our planet.

We make every effort to be environmentally responsible when deploying and maintaining networks, building our offices and consuming energy and other resources. Bell team members save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by minimizing the time our vehicles are left on idle, increasing energy efficiency at Bell facilities and using Smart Meeting tools such as VideoZone an alternative to travel. As well, we are visible supporters of broader environmental initiatives such as Earth Hour when most Bell buildings across Canada go dark, along with signs on major venues such as the Bell Centre in Montréal.

For more than 20 years, Bell has implemented and maintained numerous programs to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. Bell has achieved ISO 14001 certification for our environmental management system, the only Canadian telecommunications company to be so certified. Bell also receives many commendations every year for our environmental performance.

For more information on our environmental initiatives, view our Corporate Responsibility Report.[/i]
...

http://www.bce.ca/responsibility/environment

C'est plus payant pour Bell d'avoir l'air non partisan que de se mettre à dos des clients partisans des autres équipes que celle dont elle aurait la propriété.

I've said it before I don't know why the Argo's just dont look toward having the team commnity funded like in Regina, Edmonton or Winnipeg instead of the private ownership route that has failed so much in that area?

They can still take advantage of the new lease at BMO Field to play over the next ten years or so but have the team owned and run by the City of Toronto and by a seperate board of appointed directors, to me that makes more sense than trying to sell a losing team to a buyer who knows he's going to lose anyway.

Maybe at least by having the local community buy the team the local tax payer will have a vested interest in the team to get out and support it.

GO CATS GO!!!

Why would Bell buy a CFL team?

They already own the media rights to the league. The Argos are far from a sure thing to make money. It'd require significant management effort to clean up the organization and turn it around.

Doesn't seem like there is a whole lot in it for them.

I agree with BIGCAT, community ownership might be the only thing that saves the Argos. John Tory (ex-CFL commish) is the mayor of TO, he could make it happen. :wink:

Sports is important to Rogers because it provides content for their Sportsnet corporate property; not because "sports" as such is important.

The strange thing if Bell were to own a CFL team would be having the exclusive broadcaster also owning a team.

Don't know that pure community ownership would work in a very large city like Toronto; but an OSEG type group of investors might. Of course, don't know if there would be the exclusive commercial benefits to entice someone that OSEG had.