Tim Leiweke, the new chief of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., is so confident the Toronto Maple Leafs will soon end a 46-year Stanley Cup drought that he’s already mapped a victory-parade route for the hockey team.
“I have it planned out and it’s going to be fantastic,” Leiweke said today in his first interview since taking over the Toronto-based sports group, which owns the city’s National Hockey League franchise. While employees at MLSE, which also owns the Raptors basketball team and Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC, were a little shocked he mentioned winning the Stanley Cup so soon after starting the job on June 3, he said the company has to focus on results.
“If you can all dream about that and get that in your mind, we’ll have something we’re all driven toward,” he said he told them.
Leiweke joined Maple Leaf Sports from Anschutz Entertainment Group, owned by Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz, which controls MLS’s Galaxy club and the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and is part-owner of the LA Lakers basketball franchise. In his 13 years with AEG, the Lakers and Galaxy each won four league titles and the Kings clinched one Stanley Cup.
The challenge of moving from that winning environment to loss-prone Toronto appealed to Leiweke.
“If the teams were doing well, I wouldn’t have come,” Leiweke, 56, said in Bloomberg’s Toronto office. “What intrigued me the most is the opportunity to have an organization here that can aspire to be much more successful and a greater brand than it currently is.”
Leiweke said he is gathering the building blocks to an eventual Stanley Cup-winning Leafs squad. A key component will be general manager Dave Nonis, whose contract is being renegotiated, he said.
“We’ll probably have some news on that very soon,” Leiweke said. “I’m a big Dave Nonis fan, and I want a culture here that is different than the one I stepped into.”
BCE Inc. (BCE) and Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B), Canada’s two largest telecommunications companies, acquired control of Maple Leaf Sports in 2012 to add hundreds of hours of programming they can sell to sports fans on their smartphones and tablets. The two companies together generated profit of C$4.32 billion ($4.14 billion) last year.
Having to answer to the chiefs of two publicly traded companies is a change from Anschutz but one Leiweke says he’s happy with.
“Our owners know we’ve got to be patient and stop knee-jerking like we have in the past,” he said.
July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Tim Leiweke, chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, talks about the possibility of bringing a National Football League team to Toronto and his focus on cultivating a culture of winning and accountability for the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs. Leiweke speaks with Bloomberg Television's Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers."
Last edited by hockeywiz542: 07-15-2013 at 03:45 PM.