The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the sale of sport television networks/channels owned by Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) to BCE and Rogers Communications. While this $1, 32 billion transaction, involved several sports-related properties such as professional teams, the CRTC’s review was limited to the five television services owned by MLSE: Leafs TV, Gol TV and NBA TV Canada, as well as two services that have not yet launched, Mainstream Sports and Live Music Channel.
“When deciding whether or not to approve a proposed ownership transaction, the Commission must be persuaded, in light of the application and the public record that an approval is in the public interest”, said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “In this case, we have been convinced that the transaction benefits Canadians as it will lead to the creation of new home-grown sports programming.”
Per CRTC policy applicants were expected to make specific incremental commitments to fund initiatives that will enhance the Canadian broadcasting system. The applicants had proposed a $3.8 million in tangible benefits. After a review of the value of the transaction, BCE and Rogers will be required to spend $7.5 million over the next seven years on the creation of new sports-themed programming by Canadian independent producers.