Dec 12, 2011, 11:41 AM EDT
The Toronto Raptors may have made as big a move toward respectability as any team in the league last week… no, not signing Rasual Butler.
The Raptors are about to have new owners. Which is a very good thing.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan owns the majority of the Raptors but they are about to sell to Canadian media giants, according to the Toronto Sun.
Sources have told QMI Agency that a deal worth as much as $2 billion is close to being settled with telecommunications behemoths Bell Media and Rogers Communications, who have been rivals in the past for the much desired 79.5% shares of MLSE.
Bell and Rogers represent TSN and Sportsnet, the No. 1 and 2 sports broadcasting powers in Canada, but they will call a truce and split the shares with so many lucrative deals to be spun off their union.
To most people in Toronto, what really matters is that the NHL’s Maple Leafs will also be sold as part of this deal. Also in the mix is the Air Canada Centre and Toronto’s MLS franchise.
The Raptors ownership (which includes a few minority owners as well) always seemed confused and often at cross-purposes, with some odd personal vendettas thrown in for fun. Ideally this change will give Bryan Colangelo a green light to make some serious changes. There are few more passionate (and large) fan bases in the NBA as the Raptors, their fans deserve better.