Toronto Maple Leafs: Losing Is a Winning Formula

Ben DoverContributor IJanuary 10, 2009

The goal is to win. It's not about making money. I have many much less risky ways of making money than this (buying Chelsea football club). I don't want to throw my money away, but it's really about success and trophies. - Roman Abramovich


A recent article in Forbes magazine highlighted the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable team in the NHL. The current value of the team stands at $450 million, a little more than both the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.

The Toronto teams value has topped the list for the last three seasons. The last three seasons, Toronto has failed to make the playoffs.

In the world sport, success on the field generally equates to success in the accounting ledgers. The more you win, the more fans you acquire, greater receipts at the box office, more merchandise sold and a greater amount of sponsors come looking to gain advantage of the team's success. Society loves winners.

Toronto throws this all out of the window. They seem to retain top billing in the NHL despite losing for 42 years.

Forbes magazine was also able to list the most valuable teams in the other major North American sports. New York Yankees in MLB, L.A. Lakers in the NBA, Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, and as an add on, Manchester United in the English Premier League.

Unlike the Maple Leafs, however, the financial position of these teams does equate to success on the field.

The New York Yankees have 26 titles, the most in MLB. They haven't won for eight years. This is the longest drought for the Yankees in their storied history.

The L.A. Lakers last won the NBA title in 2002; they have 15 titles, only second to the Boston Celtics, who have 16.

The Dallas Cowboys have won five Super Bowl titles. The Cowboys last won in 1995 and are equally tied with Pittsburgh and San Francisco with five titles each.

Manchester United last won in 2008, and they are tied with Liverpool for the most league titles (17) in the English Premier League.

As can be seen above quite evidently, that success on the field, equates to financial success for the organisation. It seems quite evident that for an organisation to keep it's fans, sponsors and members and city support, winning is everything.

Is it that Toronto Maple Fan's have blind support? Are they being taken advantage of? Why is that Toronto seems quite happy to support a loser?

The discussion question here is, why are the Leafs so financially successful without winning?