Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Remember how for years Blue Jays fans raged at the unwillingness of ownership, telecom behemoth Rogers Communications, to do right by their own goddamn product and spend like a team that was determined to be competitive? How every time a free agent would hit the market we would salivate over the possibilities and wonder if maybe it would finally be the moment when Rogers stopped acting like a small market team? How clear it seemed that, with a little kick-start in terms of budget, the Blue Jays could grow and operate like a world class sports franchise befitting the enormous and hugely wealthy market they occupy?
Remember how, instead, after maybe even lowering themselves to devaluing their product in order to get a sweetheart deal on the SkyDome, they kept on gaming MLB’s revenue sharing system, save for the odd gift from Uncle Ted made for the sake of appearances, until the league basically cut them out of the formula in its latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, forcing them somewhat reluctantly to spend more?
And then how all those things we always thought were possible — should have been possible, especially with a whole country to market to, a national TV network the club could be a crown jewel of, and no other teams to share their market with (unlike their competitors in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and the Bay Area) — pretty much started to come true?
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OK, OK, so maybe it didn’t quite happen so simply, and maybe all our dreams haven’t quite been fully realized yet, but how the fuck could this season mean anything but that the Blue Jays are a club with the financial heft to do anything they want to?
The Jays had the highest average attendance and the highest total attendance in the American League in 2016, trailing only Los Angeles and St. Louis for the Major League lead in both departments. And on Tuesday the club’s exclusive broadcaster, Sportsnet, announced massive, ridiculously gaudy TV numbers for the club’s ALDS Game Three victory on Sunday.
According to the network’s release, the average audience for the game was 4.73-million viewers. Viewership peaked at 7.03-million, after Josh Donaldson’s mad dash to win the game on Rougned Odor’s error, and at least some part of the game was taken in by over 10-million Canadians on Sportsnet.
This number may not even include all the viewers on MLB.tv. Even if it does, it’s a number greater than the population of the Greater Toronto Area (6-million, per the 2011 census). The 10-million number represents more than one in four Canadians!
According to the release, the five most watched broadcasts in Sportsnet’s history are all Blue Jays games, including this one and four others from last season’s playoffs.
This is a network owned by a company that paid $5.2-billion for NHL broadcast rights, let us not forget. The clinching, and most-watched, game of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals averaged 2.88-million viewers, per Chris Zelkovich of Yahoo! Sports. The only Rio Olympic event to have beaten the Blue Jays’ 7.03-million peak, according to another Zeklovich report, was the 200m final (featuring Usain Bolt and Canadian Andre De Grasse) at 7.20-million.
All of which is to say: Pay Edwin.
Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pay Edwin. Pa