The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most popular franchises in all of sports. They’re currently the clear top team within their own city and they’re usually the most expensive ticket in the NHL. However, MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke believes times are changing and the Leafs may not own the thrown in Toronto for much longer.
Leiweke’s comments, as seen in The Star:
“Within 10 years, the Raptors are going to be the most popular team. They will be more popular than the Leafs in Toronto. Promise you.”
Basketball is thriving in Canada and the Toronto Raptors are a hot item following their playoff run last season. As the price of hockey continues to rise in Canada (check out the average price of a ticket in Toronto), fans are slowly shifting to basketball. With more Canadians playing in the NBA than ever before, it’s easy to see how the game is growing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, hockey has seemingly always been there and the high costs are pricing out younger demographics.
The Maple Leafs don’t have anything to worry about, but it’s clear that Leiweke and his team are aware of the changing landscape in Toronto. They’re paying close attention to the nation’s trends and they’ll potentially need to make adjustments in order to focus in on younger demographics. Ten years is a long time from now and the club knows what it needs to do to stay relevant. The easiest way is to put a winning product on the ice, but that’s a topic for a different conversation.