3 in the Key: Wizards vs Raptors

Scott Halleran

The Raptors face off against the Wizards again, for the second time in three games. However, Kinnon Yee is more interested in money matters.

It feels like Groundhog Day, and I'm Bill Murray running into the same ----- day after day after day.

Oh look, the Raptors are playing the Wizards again!

That can't be right.

Oh wait, the Raptors are hosting the Wizards. That's going to make a world of difference.

I'm not going to rehash my three keys from a few days ago. Since the Raptors pretty much ignored them, I'm not going to try and think of new ones.

For a moment then, I'm just going to try and look at the Raptors from a business perspective.

If you're part of the Raptors Nation that's waiting for the season to be over, it's only a couple short more weeks to go before we'll be putting together postmortems for what might very well be the most disappoint season in a while. Between the end of the season and the start of the draft,

Even with Jonas Valanciunas' growth in the face of adversity, the Raptors as an organization, are going to have a lot to do, and it's going to start with the head office.

I bring you this quote from Richard Peddie, two years ago when his extension was announced:

"I pleased to inform you that Bryan will be staying on as Raptor President. Bryan and the board worked closely to help create a "winning plan" for the Raptors and today the board gave Bryan their 100% support to continue the rebuilding job he stated this year. I can tell you that it was a very healthy process, that definitely has everyone understanding what it will take to create a winning basketball team and everyone’s total commitment to making it happen."

Going by that statement alone, I'm not going to evaluate about whether the Raptors are in a better position than they were before, cause I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement in the negative.

The question I'd pose to MLSE is whether that plan that was laid out was actually fulfilled, and if so, who takes responsibility for the results of that plan?

We've been told again and again that Bryan Colangelo hates losing and he's the first one to admit that Toronto's early success in his tenure has meant that it's set unrealistically high expectations on himself, but just think for a moment.

It's been nearly a decade since that season.

Which brings me to my second ray of hope.

Both Rogers and Bell see the potential for sports, especially winning sports, to drive their bottom line. Say what you will about Blue Jays attendance, but the Jays have always had a healthy audience on TV and online, which has been beneficial to Rogers in many ways.

I can't tell you how many elder people call in about the Jays game when their cable is down. Heck, there's even a lot of people who call Rogers if a game is on Sportsnet One and are trying to find the correct channel. That's loyalty.

The Raptors, though appeal to a younger segment that is key to both companies. Not only on TV, but on smartphones via on demand services.

During World Cups, Olympics and other special events, it's been a driving force for additional smartphone packages.

So having winning basketball is going to increase your bottom line in other areas other than TV viewership and packing the stadium. Having an exciting dunker who can score and play defense would be a godsend to this group. Making the playoffs? Everyone is rolling in money.

Which is why the development of Terrence Ross matters much more than the possibilities of Rudy Gay returning to form.

With Ross performing at his best in late December through January, there was already a buzz developing thanks to his highlight reel dunks and some of his block shots. It made people want to tune in to the Raptors. And if you weren't near a TV, chances are, you had a smartphone that had some sort of On Demand application that would let you watch the game.

Rudy Gay brought some of that fever as everyone was enamored by the face value possibility of a superstar coming to Toronto in the prime of his career. When that prospect fizzled and Gay failed to drive the team to the next level, everyone lost interest.

That hurts the bottom line of both media giants.

So from a business perspective, this season merits change. Because without winning basketball, Rogers and Bell are leaving a prosperous well untapped.

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