Franchises

Rogers family drama could have major impact on Toronto sports teams

Edward Rogers is in a legal battle with members of his family that will determine whether he can stay Chair of the Rogers BODGETTY IMAGES

Toronto's major pro teams all "have run relatively smoothly and quietly over a period of years," but all being partially owned by Rogers Communications and therefore embroiled in the drama surrounding Edward Rogers and Rogers Communications means they "haven’t entirely been spared," according to Scott Stinson of the TORONTO SUN. The "big question is what happens next," as the courts will decide if Rogers is "still chairman of the Rogers board, or if he was successfully deposed by a group that includes his mother and two sisters." As it relates to the Rogers sports properties, unless Edward Rogers "ends up taking his ball and going home, it seems likely he will still have some presence around MLSE and, particularly, the Blue Jays," of which he remains Chair. That the story of Rogers' clash with Raptors President & Vice Chair Masai Ujiri emerged now "suggests that his ability to wreak havoc at MLSE is muted." But "what if Rogers remains in charge of the baseball team, but is effectively blocked off from the levers of power at the parent company that owns the Jays?" Stinson: "There is, to be clear, no reason to believe that the Rogers management team he has been trying to punt is any less interested in the Blue Jays" (TORONTO SUN, 10/26).

FIGHT FOR THE SOUL OF TORONTO: In Toronto, Bruce Arthur writes the legal battle between Edward Rogers and his family is "really a chance to dislodge this particular Rogers from the central fabric of the city." That would be "for the best." But "imagine a future where Ed Rogers has even more influence when it comes to the Leafs, the Raptors, the Blue Jays, the Argos and Toronto FC." This power struggle "will basically decide whether Edward runs Rogers alone or not," and a victory "would presumably mean his sister Melinda Rogers-Hixon wouldn’t be terribly welcome on the MLSE board of directors, not when there are Rogers flunkies lying around all over the place" (TORONTO STAR, 10/26).

RAPTORS FANS PICK A SIDE: In Toronto, Singh & Mak write under the header, "Raptors fans fuming after sources reveal Edward Rogers wanted to dump Masai Ujiri."  Fans on Twitter were "co-ordinating ‘f--k Ed Rogers’ chants ahead of tipoff" of last night's Raptors home game against the Bulls (TORONTO STAR, 10/26). THE ATHLETIC's Eric Koreen wrote while one "can agree or not with Rogers’ assessment of Ujiri," the "fact is Ujiri has been and remains one of the most coveted executives in the NBA." He "built a championship team in a non-glamour market and ignited a fan base as perhaps the face of the franchise." This all, "of course, comes back to money -- not just the money Ujiri is making, but the money Rogers thinks his family should be making." If Edward Rogers alone were in charge of the Raptors, it is "very likely Ujiri would no longer be with the Raptors." What is going on with Rogers right now "is a circus, and there will be some effect on the Raptors." For now, though, Ujiri and his top lieutenants "should be able to operate the team as they see fit, with the only real impact being some awkward MLSE board meetings" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/25).

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