August 06, 2021

Bad behaviour costs in pro sports

Adored by millions, Cheered by thousands. Fame and fortune.

Then, in a blink of an eye, it all falls apart.

Endorsements are lost. Cheers turn to jeers. All respect is lost.

Sadly, it happens over and over again in the world of professional sports.

Continue reading »

July 16, 2021

Can money buy a winning baseball team?

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play, today.

Look at me, I can be, centre field.

Ever wonder if money can buy a winning team in Major League Baseball (MLB)?

Well, BMO's Moneyball All-Star Break Report examines the relationship between payroll and performance in Major League Baseball.

The annual report provides a financial analysis of MLB winners and losers at the unofficial halfway mark of the 2013 season.

Continue reading »

May 13, 2021

Will you shell out for a sports camp this summer?

Minor hockey is over and, although summer and soccer are still a few weeks away, weary parents have to decide soon which sports camps their kids are going to sign up for -- and for how long.

The cost of sending your son or daughter away for a week or more can be daunting. Some parents simply need a babysitter but, for many, it’s all about helping talented kids realize their potential. And the sky is the limit in that case.

And, as Mark Hyman documents in recent book, The Most Expensive Game in Town, the lengths to which many parents go in pursuit of that vision can turn it into a nightmare. 

How much are parents plunking down to send Johnny to that hockey camp or to support Tamara's golf aspirations? A lot, says Hyman, who laments what he calls the over-commercialization of children's athletics.

Continue reading »

January 18, 2022

What Lance Armstrong has lost

If you were one of the many that watched Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah last night, you no doubt caught the teaser for tonight's part two of the Q&A.

In it, the duo hinted at the many sponsors that had dropped Armstrong after his doping allegations grew too loud to ignore. In the clip, Armstrong called it a "$75 million day."

That figure has yet to be confirmed, so in the meantime we're left to pick up the pieces of the disgraced cyclist's sponsorship history.

And when we're judging Armstrong's last few months, from an endorsement perspective, at least, it appears only Tiger Woods had it worse.

Continue reading »

December 05, 2021

Shocker: NHL lockout is ravaging businesses near arenas

NHL players and owners are back negotiating again in New York, and wouldn’t you know it the latest reports have floated some optimism that the season might be saved.

Fine, like you lost interest reading that first sentence, don’t think it was much easier to type. Hockey is among the world’s worst conversation topics today, the sport having been reduced to a putrid dialogue about dollars, TV contracts and public posturing. Wake us up when someone’s back on the ice.

Yet all throughout the yet-to-be NHL season, we’ve always heard, though rarely in quantified terms, how much the lockout was hurting more than just the players. It was, supposedly, severing business to every bar owner and memorabilia dealer that relied on the game.

Now, we get a sense of who it’s hurting, and by just how much.

Continue reading »

November 14, 2021

Welcome to Toronto, Jose Reyes and co. -- now, meet the CRA

The sports world of Canada still buzzes today, after the Toronto Blue Jays made perhaps its greatest push for relevancy in 20 years.

Last night, word trickled down around dinnertime in the east that the Jays and Miami Marlins had agreed to a mega-trade, bringing stars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle north of the border.

Immediately, considering many of the players Toronto sent in return are still prospects, the trade makes the Jays more competitive. Immediately, the trade also appears to boost the value of a team, worth some $413 million by Forbes’ estimate, owned by the deep-pocketed Rogers Communications.

Yet while Jays fans are the biggest winners today, the biggest losers may well be its incoming players, millionaire residents of the U.S. that have no idea what it’ll be like once the Canada Revenue Agency gets its hooks in them.

Continue reading »

August 23, 2021

Canada could support five more 'Big Four' sports teams: report

For better or worse, history tends to remember things differently than they were, though it’s tough to recall much good about the final years of the Montreal Expos.

Canada’s other Major League Baseball team had its attendance woes late in its life, which everyone knows (even after a 2,000-odd fan increase, for instance, the Expos still drew just 10,031 per game in 2002). But what’s lost in sappy odes to the Montreal team of years past was that, during its final two seasons, support for the Expos was so lousy it actually had to play more than a quarter of its games in Puerto Rico just to stay afloat.

Mercifully, the Expos were taken from Montreal after the 2004 season, when they moved to Washington, D.C., and became known as the Nationals, the team that now has the best record in baseball.

It was the end of the sport in Montreal, but it shouldn’t be, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

Continue reading »

July 25, 2021

How much do you think you spend on kids' sports?

The cost of sending your son or daughter away for a week or more to a sports camp this summer can be daunting. But, for many, it’s all about helping talented kids realize their potential. And the sky is the limit in that case -- particularly when it comes to athletics.

According to the latest research by Investors Group, Canadian parents invest an average of $1,658 per year on their children’s athletic pursuits, although it's not unheard of to hear tales families spending four or five times that.

Forty-seven per cent spend at least $1,000 or more on lessons, equipment, camps, tournaments, and other expenses involved in supporting athletic extracurricular activities.

Continue reading »

May 02, 2021

Rogers Centre charges 4th-highest beer price in all of baseball

Now that the Expos are gone and thriving in America’s most powerful city, there is once again only one professional baseball team north of the border.

1012381_beer_5Still, as you well know, the Toronto Blue Jays have a tough time drawing fans, routinely scoring near the bottom of MLB attendance. Last year, out of 30 teams, they were 25th.

The on-field team doesn’t help – rare has been the Jays team that’s even contended for the playoffs since their World Series win in 1993; they haven’t actually cracked the postseason in 19 years – but perhaps a new study’s unearthed another reason why fans stay away.

By one survey just commissioned, a beer at the Rogers Centre is the fourth-most expensive in all of baseball.

Continue reading »

April 11, 2021

What happens to business when you side with Fidel Castro

In sports, Ozzie Guillen is as colourful as personalities get, having shown no ability to censor himself in his 30-odd years in baseball.

As a manager with the Chicago White Sox from 2004-2011, Guillen was routinely suspended for offside remarks and ill-timed cursing, though he was always treated with kid gloves. Oh, there goes Ozzie again – what did he say now?

But a move this offseason to become skipper of the Miami Marlins hasn’t begun so well for the outspoken Guillen, who let slip a big no-no in a recent magazine interview, confessing his admiration for longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The manager has already been suspended five games for his remarks, yet the damage stretches long past the diamond. It's threatening to derail the finances of the entire Marlins operation.

Continue reading »


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...