Torontonians in the winter months must brave everything from frigid temperatures to ice storms and loss of hydro. For many, summer sports such as baseball couldn’t be further from their minds (even though Spring Training is less than a mere 50 days away). But for a select few Blue Jays fans (45 to be exact), on January 9th, 2014 they donned their baseball gear and took to the field at Rogers Centre, having the rare opportunity to interact with baseball greats such as Pat Tabler, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, and the most decorated Blue Jays player, Roberto Alomar.
The special occasion? Another successful fundraising effort by the Jays Care Foundation, WINTER TRAINING DAY.
The official charitable arm of the Blue Jays was the 2012 recipient of the MLB Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence, as well as the 2013 recipient of the Beyond Sport Sports Team of the Year Award. The mission of the organization is to focus energy and resources toward community-based endeavours that develop baseball programs and help children in need to excel academically, get active, and lead healthy lives. To date, Jays Care has invested over $8.2 million in Canadian children and communities. This Winter Training Day raised over $38,000! Continue reading →
Tom Maloney at the Globe and Mail wrote a very interesting and enlightening article yesterday, in which he takes a very business oriented look at the challenges facing the Blue Jays this off-season (hat tip to @TaoofStieb for linking it). Upon reading the piece, I got into a bit of a Twitter discussion with @Stivbators and @ericviola_ about just what implications it might have for the team in 2014.
There’s a lot of comfort that can be taken from the article, as Rogers Media president Keith Pelley is quoted as saying a lot of the right things about being committed to the Blue Jays as an investment in content for their various media platforms.
This makes a lot of sense, as in the age of PVRs and cable cutters, live sports is one of the few types of content that still makes for reliable appointment viewing and the advertising revenue that goes along with it. Pelley and Rogers have obviously come around to the realization that a winning ball club is a much better investment than a losing one, and that has been reflected in the massive jump in payroll last off-season.
What I found less comforting, and the nugget which was the center of our little Twitter round table, was the line from Maloney that reads “observers expect the Jays to seek ownership’s approval on a payroll increase of $20-million to $25-million – up from about $127.8-million (U.S.) this year – without raising ticket prices.” Continue reading →