On January 31, 2005, Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership, part of the Rogers Communications group of companies, completed its purchase of the Toronto SkyDome from Sportsco International, LP. How much did Rogers pay for SkyDome? $25 million.
As owners of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, Rogers’ move to acquire the stadium was a part of its overall goals to enhance the game and fan experience. Newly renamed the Rogers Centre, the stadium will be revitalized with new upgrades including a new state of the art, scoring and display system, replacing the Jumbotron, and the installation of a new playing surface.
The transaction involved numerous interested parties requiring various consents from:
- Stadium Corporation of Ontario Ltd. (Stadco)
- The Province of Ontario
- Canada Lands Company CLC Ltd.
- Canadian National Railway Co.
- City of Toronto
- Toronto Terminals Railway Company Ltd.
- GO Transit
- Oxford Properties and Renaissance Hotels which has a hotel inside the SkyDome.
It is estimated that there were over 150 material contracts and 200 encumbrances on title to review.
Lawyers present during purchase of SkyDome
Rogers was represented in-house by David Miller, vice-president and general counsel. Lang Michener LLP (now McMillan LLP) also acted for Rogers with a team led by Ron Carinci (business/real estate) and included:
- John Payne, Bruce McKenna, William Rowlands, Wayne Carney, Bronwyn Atkinson and Matt German (business/real estate)
- Carl De Vuono, James Stranges, Kalle Soomer, Q.C., and Sonia Keuroghlian (business)
- Brent McPherson (litigation)
- Don Plumley, Q.C., and Peter Giddens (intellectual property)
- Martin Rabinovitch, Eric Friedman and Jeff Heinbuch (banking and restructuring)
- Howard Levitt (employment and labour).
The vendors, Sportsco International, were represented by the following lawyers at McCarthy Tétrault LLP:
- Abraham Costin, Jonathan Gitlin, David Starkman and Alexis Wiseman (real property and planning)
- Paul Boniferro (labour and employment)
- Brian Pel (tax)
- Michael Barrack and Junior Sirivar (litigation)
Stadco and the Province of Ontario were represented by Craig Slater, director, legal services branch, Ontario Ministry of Finance. Assisting him was a team from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP that included:
- Steven Trumper (corporate/commercial)
- Caroline Thomas and Jack Cook (commercial property)
- Marc Wasserman (banking and restructuring)
- Chris Naudie and Derek Leschinsky (litigation).
Canada Lands Company CLC, the owner of portions of the land on which SkyDome is constructed, was represented by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons Canada, LLP) with a team led by Jillian Shortt (real estate) and Chris Turney (business), and including Andrea Centa (real estate).
City of Toronto's involvement in sale of SkyDome
As head landlord of part of the SkyDome site, the City of Toronto’s consent was required for certain asssignments and subleases, including the recent assignment of the subsublease from Sportsco Canada, Inc. to Rogers Sports Holding Inc. as general partner of Rogers Stadium Limited Partnership. The City was represented by Kathleen Kennedy (real estate) and Stephen Bradley (planning).
Canadian National Railway and the Toronto Terminals Railway Company were represented by Robin McGillis of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.