How Will Rogers' Massive NHL Deal Affect Toronto Blue Jays' Future?

By Thom Tsang
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Wait, so Rogers Communication has money in the coffers to dole out a 12-year, $5.2 billion broadcast deal with the NHL, and the Toronto Blue Jays are still limited to “payroll parameters”?

That was one prevailing thought within Blue Jays Nation with the announcement of the landmark deal, as it does highlight a striking contrast in how much money the team’s owners were willing to spend on the hockey side of sports media, while everything coming out of the bluebirds’ camp has been about how the team is limited in what it can do — how even a rumored $20 million increase from a $130 million payroll won’t be enough in 2014.

Though a team certainly can’t buy a World Series even with all the money in the world, teams that have gone “all-in” to open up a window of contention really don’t have a whole lot of choice when it comes to improving their chances to play October baseball, especially because those improvements have to be made with established assets for the short term.

So unfortunately for the Blue Jays, spending money is actually one of the only ways to make the team better without severe jeopardizing the team’s future, as they simply don’t have time to play the upside game.

And while the NHL and MLB are obviously two very different animals especially when it comes to Canada, Blue Jays fans should be looking at Rogers’ latest deal as a positive, even if it doesn’t necessarily mean that the team will be competing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the league’s highest payroll anytime soon.

It might be looking at things through a cup-half-full lens, but while the telecom giant has supposedly limited the checkbooks of the baseball team, that they would splurge on acquiring broadcast rights for their own network in another major sport suggests that there may be more focus being placed on their sports media properties.

Whether that might be improved production value on Blue Jays advertisements, a bigger push for awareness and ticket sales, this interest could manifest itself in a number of ways — yes, including on the team’s payroll.

Or so that’s the hope, anyway. Again, one investment is very different from the other, though that Rogers has the money to spend on this side of the business could be a rising tide that eventually lifts both ships. There’s clearly much value in the Blue Jays franchise for Rogers given that they own the both the stadium and the television network with the broadcasting rights, and it should be a good thing if they are turning their almighty cell-phone selling eyes in this general direction.

Then again, with the payroll increase that allowed the team to make the blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins last offseason, and the rumored payroll increase this season, perhaps that’s all happening already.

No, it won’t get the Blue Jays the $300 million needed to bring in Robinson Cano, but … maybe it’ll mean the eventual loosening up of those pesky “payroll parameters”?

Thom is an MLB writer for Follow him on Twitter @BlueJaysRant, or add him to your network on Google

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