TORONTO — Four years ago Tony Staffieri, then chief financial officer of Rogers Communications Inc., triggered an intense round of speculation when he told a finance industry conference that the Canadian telecom giant was looking for ways to “surface value” for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The comment came in the midst of a Q&A session, after he was asked if it still made sense for the company to own sports teams. In his reply, Staffieri noted that there were pathways to rent exclusive content, such as Rogers’ NHL rights deal, and that the Blue Jays had “become a very valuable asset for us that we don’t get full credit for.”
“And so,” he added, “like some of the other assets on our balance sheet, we’re looking at better ways to surface value for them.”
The desire to realize the team’s worth, then, isn’t new and shouldn’t be surprising now that it’s been thrown back into the public discourse after Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail reported Monday that Rogers was considering selling a stake in the club.
Many things have changed since Staffieri made those comments four years ago, prime among them that he’s now interim chief executive officer, after leaving amid a bigger power struggle within the company, and Rogers seeking regulatory approval for a $26-billion purchase of Shaw Communications.
Still, neither development means there’s suddenly a ‘For Sale’ sign on the Blue Jays, and two industry sources…