Burke got the axe Wednesday morning because BellBig shocker! A corporate suit like Cope doesn't care much for a crude Irishman who, rumor has it, likes to have a drink every now and then ( cough, cough, wink, wink). Burke's a loose cannon. That's not going to fly when Rogers and Bell own 75% of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Despite getting that part right, Cox showed ignorance vis-a-vis the Rogers-Bell relationship:
President and CEOGeorge Cope, after months of campaigning for Burke's dismissal, finally wore out the Rogers suits and Leafs minority ownerLarry Tanenbaum ... Cope didn't like Burke's style, his manners, his profanity, his lifestyle.
This is the first really big sports decision undertaken by the partnership of Bell and Rogers that now controls Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Not only was it done in such a way that should make Leaf fans very worried, it may also be an indication why this corporate partnership of media rivals is destined not to last.Rivals. I love it! Rogers and Bell are rivals like Apple ( AAPL) and Amazon.com ( AMZN) are mortal enemies. Loose similarities actually exist between the two sets of partners the media likes to hysterically paint as foes. You know the deal with Apple and Amazon. They both make hardware. They both provide excellent user experiences via smart and seamless ecosystems. And they scratch each other's backs feverishly. Apple devices dominate mobile e-commerce traffic. A significant chunk of that activity, if not a vast majority, happens in the Amazon online store. The numbers from the holiday period clearly support this contention. Things might be even more symbiotic between Rogers and Bell. The two companies simply have to act like "rivals" to keep regulators off their tails. They both want the same thing from their joint ownership of MLSE and every other area they nearly monopolize in Canada -- mobile, cable/satellite, media -- you name it. Leafs fans should be thrilled that Rogers and Bell control the team now. We might finally make the playoffs. Yes, "we." I'm a fan. Have been for a while. In fact, I just put a new profile picture up on Twitter ( check it out!). This one just missed the cut. Cramer didn't like it:
I was floored, and I still am stunned. I've never been fired before . . . I think I can help. I've been at this for a while. I have my name on the Stanley Cup. I'll do whatever I can . . . I wish Dave (Nonis) and the Toronto Maple Leafs all the success in the world. I'll do my best to help them win.For the record, I still love all three stocks -- BCE, RCI and MSG -- despite considerable runs for the latter two. BCE data by YCharts
Some regulatory issues, unrelated to MLSE, have held Bell back a bit, but it's as strong of a long-term play as RCI. Investors have to yet to recognize the upside potential in this MLSE deal. MSG is a nice lower-level U.S. case study to help illustrate what Rogers and Bell have going for them in Canada. I like MSG this year no matter what happens, but I expect a big media company, quite possibly News Corp ( NWSA), to at least try to take them out. Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.