Bulls & Bears: Blue Jays' renaissance a true mid-season miracle

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

Alex Anthopoulos is not the first general manager to make a series of blockbuster moves that turned around the fortunes of his club. Yet the Toronto Blue Jays’ baseball operations boss may very well be on the verge of pulling off one of the greatest overall turnarounds we've ever seen in any of the North American team sports.

Of course, superb runs since the all-star game (31-12), Troy Tulowitzki acquisition (26-7) and the end of August (7-3 in their last 10) won’t mean much to fans if they don’t translate into the Blue Jays’ first post-season berth in 22 years. Yet the question remains: Has there ever been a more dramatic impact of mid-season player personnel moves on the performance of a team both on the field and at the box office?

In this corner, nothing has ever moved the needle on a team's business operations as much as what Anthopoulos did with his roster at the end of July. Eight games back at one point, the Jays were averaging 26,500 per game at the Rogers Centre at the deadline; they're now habitually selling out to the tune of crowds of over 46,000. They've moved from 19th in Major League Baseball attendance to 11th and are easily on pace to finish among the top-10 clubs in terms of regular season ticket sales. Television has already doubled and, barring a catastrophic collapse, will be locked in well north of a million viewers per game the rest of the way. Merchandise sales have never been stronger across the country and the Blue Jays are Canada's hottest team on Twitter, picking up an average of close to 25,000 followers per week the past five weeks. Having leap-frogged this year over the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Raptors and Montreal Canadiens on social media, they go into the weekend at 940,000 Twitter followers, second only to the NHL's Maple Leafs (one million) as Canada's most followed franchise.

It's safe to say the moves by Anthopoulos have not only worked on the field, but have generated more than $1 million per game in incremental revenues. The biggest compliment of all may be that Toronto is right up there with the continent's traditional baseball hubs of St. Louis, New York, Boston and Los Angeles as the best performing markets in terms of every major sport business indicator. Moreover, interest in the Jays has truly become a national phenomenon in a way that we've never seen in the Internet and social media eras.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

What more can be said about Deflategate? The entire 2015 NFL season will last four months and 28 days, or a total of 151 days. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell allowed this football soap opera to drag on seven months and 16 days (or 228 days). Some may suggest it kept the NFL in the news during the long off-season — and it did — but it's been decades since the commissioner's office has appeared so lame and ineffective and that's not good for the brand of the NFL shield. Despite all of it, check out the TV ratings Sept. 10 through 14, the opening weekend of the new season.

Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 AM Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bulls & Bears airs at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m. Follow Tom Mayenknecht at: Twitter.com/thesportmarket

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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