Five things we learned about cocky new MLSE boss Tim Leiweke and his plans to overhaul Toronto’s sports teams
MLSE’s new president and CEO Tim Leiweke is an accomplished sports exec who lives at the Ritz-Carlton and can out-ego Brian Burke. Since taking over in April, the most powerful man in Toronto sports has shown he’s willing to offend fans and fire top brass in pursuit of championship trophies and big profits. And he’s not even close to done. Below, the five most intriguing details of Leiweke’s plans for the Maple Leafs, the Raptors and Toronto FC.
1. He’s obsessed with winning
Every incoming executive arrives with championship plans, but Leiweke has shown more bravado than most. Case in point: he’s already plotted out a parade route for when the Leafs win the Stanley Cup, and keeps a replica of the trophy in his office.
2. He wants to ditch reminders of the past
Leiweke has ordered that parts of the Air Canada Centre be cleared of old Leafs memorabilia, a bold move in a city that takes the edge off current disappointments by reminiscing about triumphs of yore. He later apologized for offending fans and alumni, but still maintained that the obsession with former victories doesn’t win games.
3. He thinks Toronto needs an international soccer star
Leiweke told the Toronto Star that he’s pursuing two major—and majorly expensive—stars for Toronto FC, which isn’t totally surprising for someone whose biggest claim to fame is convincing David Beckham to play for the L.A. Galaxy.
4. He wants to make BMO Field a lot flashier
The no-frills soccer stadium is slated to get an upgrade and Leiweke is dispatching staff to check out Kansas City’s two-year-old stadium, which is tricked out with 330 high-definition televisions, 150 WiFi access points and $5,000 chairs in the locker room.
5. He likes Dave Nonis
Since Leiweke started, Raptors GM Brian Colangelo and a raft of unnamed MLSE executives have all lost their jobs. However, the CEO says that “Dave Nonis and I are absolutely, 100 per cent on the same page.” Sounds like the Leafs’ GM is safe. For now.