Verizon (VZ) or AT&T (T) could attempt to follow the Rogers/Bell blueprint, but I doubt the companies have that type of vision separately, the smarts to work together or the ability to get past tight U.S. regulators.
That leaves names such as Google (GOOG) and, particularly, Apple in the mix.
Executed properly, this could represent the next step in Apple's evolution.The most obvious connection -- integrating iTunes with AEG's concert promotion business. Endless possibilities there. Simply put, iTunes becomes the engine, the platform that fuels this segment of AEG. It instantly explodes and becomes much more of a revenue generator than it is today. As far as the sports teams go, this opens the door to Apple's entry into the living room. For example, consider the Lakers. For better or worse, if you can call any sports franchise a national brand, it's the Lakers. A bit like the Dallas Cowboys used to be and the New York Yankees are. Special, enhanced access to Lakers games via Apple TV represents a large enough draw to become one of the cornerstones of the project. Huge opportunity to enter the living room with force. It's much easier to negotiate deals with the current rights holders or become the rights holder yourself when you own all or part of the team. With a foundation planted with West Coast sports, Apple can go to an MSG to partner and bring the Yankees, Knicks, Rangers and such to the new platform. Why should Apple bang its head against the wall with content providers, spending billions to buy the same junk Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon.com (AMZN) overpay for when it can strategically position itself to have a foothold on live, sports programming -- the stuff that actually matters? The stuff that Rogers and Bell expertly corner the market on in Canada. In some ways, it's a no-brainer for Apple.