Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #9, Larry Tanenbaum
Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it
MLSE and Kilmer Group
9 The city’s most powerful sports figure scooped up the Argonauts in May, adding North America’s oldest team to his colossal $2-billion empire. As chair, 25 per cent owner and elder statesman on the board of MLSE, he is the driver behind the consortium’s every move. This year, there were many: the Raptors built an elite, $30-million training facility; TFC signed Italian all-star Sebastian Giovinco for $7.1 million (U.S.) per year, made the playoffs for the first time and moved into a newly expanded stadium; and the Leafs hired former New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and former Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock to lead a long-overdue rebuild. Tanenbaum pounced on the Pan Am Games, too. His private investment company, Kilmer Van Nostrand, partnered with the province to build the athletes’ village and, in turn, develop Toronto’s newest neighbourhood, the Canary District. Through Kilmer, Tanenbaum also reigns over Ontario’s highway service-stop network, ONroute.
Purchasing an NFL team. He struck out on a deal to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014 but has predicted that the NFL will soon expand to the city—implying, if not promising, that it will happen on his watch.