MLB rumors: Yamamoto favorite, Ohtani NHL factor, Yankees miss FAs for silly reason

  • The New York Yankees could land more free agents with one simple rule change
  • The Blue Jays' pursuit of Shohei Ohtani could be impacted by NHL TV rights
  • A new favorite emerges in crowded field of Yoshinobu Yamamoto suitors

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Blue Jays' owner will save money for Shohei Ohtani by dropping NHL TV contract

The Toronto Blue Jays are owed and operated by Rogers Communications, a company that is currently engaged in a 12-year TV rights contract with the National Hockey League. That deal has been a "tremendous [financial] strain" on the company, per Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. It would appear the goal of signing Shohei Ohtani is built around saving money, despite the potential for Ohtani's deal to balloon past $600 million.

With their NHL contract set to expire in 2026, Rogers — currently burning roughly $500 million per year on hockey television rights — plans to let the deal run out. That would allow them to turn their focus toward the Blue Jays, first and foremost. The hope is that such a pivot becomes financially profitable based on the arrival of international megastar Shohei Ohtani, who could help Toronto compete in the American League. Ohtani will cost roughly $60 million per year, considerably less than the NHL. Rogers would also maintain regional broadcasting rights over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

So, Rogers doesn't have to leave hockey behind altogether. Rather than being the exclusive NHL rights holder in Canada, however, Rogers would be able to shine a brighter spotlight on the (ideally competitive) Blue Jays and their global two-way moneymaker.

Toronto appears to be gaining major steam in the Ohtani pursuit. We could get an answer about Ohtani's next team as soon as today. He may or may not be flying to Toronto already.