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Monday, March 10
Updated: March 14, 5:26 PM ET
Toronto tries to get help for weak Canadian dollar

Associated Press

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping for more financial help from commissioner Bud Selig this season to help compensate for the weak Canadian dollar.

Selig is studying six formulas that would be based on Blue Jays ticket sales for a possible currency-adjustment plan designed to help the club compete economically with American teams, said Rob Godfrey, Toronto's senior vice president of communications and external relations.

"Major league baseball has been nothing short of great," Godfrey said Monday from Dunedin, Fla., the team's spring training home. "We're hoping to hear back from them before opening day."

Last season, the Blue Jays received a one-time payment of $5 million from the commissioner's discretionary fund to help compensate for the weak Canadian dollar. Godfrey has been negotiating a long-term plan with baseball since last summer.

The proposals are based on the currency assistance plan the NHL offers small-market Canadian teams, making the amount of money given to the Blue Jays contingent on attendance.

Most of the formulas being studied call for clawbacks on the amount of money the Blue Jays get if they fall below the median attendance in baseball. That means they'll probably need to draw about 2 million fans this season to avoid losing aid.

"The key thing that major league baseball and we liked about it is that we don't control what everyone else's attendance is," Godfrey said. "If we aren't at the median, then we face the clawback."

Toronto drew 1.6 million fans in 2002, and 1.9 million in 2001. Blue Jays ticket sales are up slightly over last year at this time.

"Two million is optimistic, but reasonable," Godfrey said.

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