Make it about pucks, not bucks
Can Maple Leaf Sports raise more than its share price?
First, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) president Richard Peddie announced plans to retire this year.Then there was speculation the Ontario Teachers might sell to Rogers.
We asked: When will this billion-dollar juggernaut care more about winning than juicing its bottom line?
A WINNING CULTURE WILL BRING IN MORE BUCKS
I think the establishment of a winning culture (which doesn’t appear to be present today) will make the company even more profitable. Even having the “best people,” which arguably they have done, will not produce real success if a winning culture isn’t present. So an absolute, determined, bulletproof planned commitment to winning is job one. Part of that must be more attention paid to fans, those who buy the tickets, yes, but also the legions who make up Leafs Nation and have been somewhat taken for granted for some time.
John Tory, radio host, CFRB
BE FRANK WITH FANS, GIVE THEM A REASON TO BELIEVE
I suggest starting with some straight-up communication, as opposed to the angry retorts we have grown accustomed to from the likes of Ron Wilson and Brian Burke. Share something real that supports a strong vision. How are things progressing within the development ranks? Are there some hot, young prospects in the pipeline? It’s a long season, and fans need something to hope for, to hang on to, to believe in.
Jane Wilcox, president, Xposure PR
IMPROVE THE PRODUCT
Over the last 20 years, there has been a pretty impressive transition at the top floor of the Leafs’ executive offices. But now it’s time to actually improve the product. The talent level of the teams does not match the rest of the organization. Building a major league sports empire is not just developing corporate structure, maximizing and building revenue streams. Forget about the wrapping paper.What’s inside the box? It’s time that took first priority.
Jim Tatti, former sportscaster, Global TV
TRADE, LOSE, WIN
The basics of the best advice, gleaned from smart folks who run championship teams, would suggest the GMs at MLSE (a) stop pretending they’re good (a painful step for masters of bull talk like Brian Burke and Bryan Colangelo); (b) trade every movable asset for draft picks or prospects, then scout (and pray) for franchise changing talent; (c) finish last for a while (just so everything seems normal to the fans); (d) shock the city by building talent-rich organizations instead of slapping together Peddie-era paper teams.
Dave Feschuk, sports columnist, Toronto Star
GREAT TEAMS TAKE TIME
MLSE under Richard Peddie has built a great management team for both the Leafs and Raptors in Brian Burke and Bryan Colangelo. As a former sports executive, I realize that changing the course of a team takes time, wisdom, patience and a lot of luck. Drafting young, can’t miss prospects does not always work out. I am confident that MLSE is doing most things right, and with a bit of luck, the Stanley Cup and an NBA championship will arrive soon. I am a believer.
Paul Godfrey, president, Postmedia Network