It was the first game at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center more than a year ago now and a bunch of us are hanging the hallway outside the locker room after the game when Larry Tanenbaum comes walking by with a bunch of people.
One I don’t recognize and when I ask about him, am told it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s business manager and that Bon Jovi was supposed to be at the game with Larry but something had come up and he couldn’t make it.
Wondered why the business manager was there and I was told, by someone who’d likely know a lot more than I did:
And, now I get it.
Cathal's story yesterday (here it is) about Bon Jovi and the Bills and Toronto didn’t just pop up all of a sudden. It’s been in the works, at least on some kind of backburner, for a very long time, as you’d expect with something of this magnitude.
It didn’t just start with the story breaking on a Sunday, and generally when news like that gets out the process is very far along and someone stands to benefit by some of the information becoming public.
And yes, Tim Leiweke does have big ties to NFL plans – it’s part of what he was doing before his abrupt departure from AEG – and we all know Larry Tanenbaum moves in circles with grand plans.
Now, will it work? Can the NFL get here and thrive?
Of course. In a while. I wouldn’t be rushing out to buy tickets or anything like that and I wouldn’t even be finding to put down as a deposit.
But in a few years? Sure, it makes a lot sense. This is a market that’s big enough to satisfy the NFL – there would be issues with TV ratings because games up here don’t get tracked along with the games in the States – but there’s no question in my mind that it’d sell; it’d be the kind of event that satisfies what’s an insatiable need around these parts to be “first class” or something like that.
Of course, there’d be none of the tailgating that is such a part of the NFL experience because we don’t do that sort of thing here in staid old Canada – and I’m quite fine with that, to tell you the truth – but it would still work.
A stadium? As Cathal mentions, that’s where MLSE comes in; Tim Leiweke has some experience with stadiums from his time at AEG and he was heavily involved in an ill-fated attempt to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles before his abrupt departure from AEG and that can’t hurt.
It’s a business deal begun months and perhaps years ago by Tanenbaum, it seems it’s ramped up now that it’s public. But don’t think for a minute this all of a sudden appeared on the horizon, it’s been in the works for some time.
Wish I’d pressed that issue that night at Barclay’s.
So, of course …
Not an awful lot yesterday – was a quiet day and a great night -- but it was interesting to chat with D.J. Augustin and see how he had handled a demotion before thriving in the chance he got last Friday night.
I think it speaks highly of his character that he stayed ready and capitalized on an opportunity when it was presented.
You want professionals on the end of your bench, guys who aren’t in the least bit disruptive or guys who sulk.
You want guys like Augustin and Aaron Gray, grownups who do what’s asked when it’s asked and don’t bitch and whine when things aren’t going their way.
Okay, I guess every Grey Cup can’t be a compelling game (and there are those I know who think every football game is far from compelling – boring is a word I hear) because that one on Sunday night was a bit of a one-sided dog of game that held little interest after halftime.
But it sure turned into a helluva story off the field with the hometown team winning easy and now having been at a game in Regina and understanding first hand what that franchise means to the city and the province, I can just imagine how great the party would have been. And I presume it’s still going on.
And given that it was warmer in Regina yesterday than it was here in Toronto, it kind of takes away from all the complaints last week about windchill and how cold it was.
I think the Grey Cup should be played outdoors in one of the cities where the game truly matters every year; it works, it’s worth it and it’s far more of an “event” than it would ever be here.
A quick catch up with some Canada Basketball stuff?
Was told yesterday that FIBA won’t cut its World Cup wild card bits to a smaller number after a meeting this past weekend. The too-large group remains at 15 until February (yes, Canada is one of them) when the final four will be announced.
I guess it gives FIBA time to collect interest on the refundable $500,000 applications fees it collected or perhaps they did the smart thing and invested it in some short-term bonds or somesuch.
Whatever, Canada remains alive in the hunt for a few more months.
Oh, and there is still a chance – I think slight but others think legitimate – that they can convince all the necessary powers to make the 2015 Pan Am Games basketball tournaments the qualification events for the 2016 Olympics but that decision hasn’t been made, either.