Bidding War? Bell Canada, Others Reportedly In Mix To Purchase Leafs, Raptors

On Tuesday night's Jeopardy, the final clue read as follows: "In action since 1917, this sports franchise is largely owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan." The correct response, as anybody who reads SB Nation's Pension Plan Puppets would know, is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They might need to change the name of their blog soon.

Earlier today, the news broke that Rogers Communications has entered talks to buy a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment from the OTPP, which currently owns 66 percent of the group that operates the Leafs, the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC, among others.

According to a report by the Financial Post, however, that deal is far from done, and other suitors could be in the mix.

In fact, sources familiar with events say Teachers has also been in talks with BCE Inc. which recently bought CTV, Larry Tanenbaum, the chairman of MLSE, and at least two potential U.S. buyers. BCE was not immediately available for comment.

BCE is short for Bell Canada Entertainment, the chief rival of Rogers. Ironically, BCE was almost purchased by the OTPP back in 2007, but the global financial crisis led to the downfall of that deal. Now, the shoe could be on the other foot in terms of one of Teachers' biggest assets.

Rogers owns a bevy of Sportsnet stations across Canada, while BCE owns CTV, a media conglomerate with control over TSN, Canada's largest sports network.

Any change in ownership would be a dramatic shift in the sports landscape in Toronto and Canada as a whole, but no move would be more significant than a purchase by BCE or Rogers.

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