Toronto Maple Leafs for Sale: A List of Potential New Owners
This past week, it was announced that the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is looking into selling their majority stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs ownership. While it is no sure thing that the Leafs will be sold, it is more than likely that the Leafs will have new ownership by the time next season rolls around.
A lot of people of said that the Maple Leafs owners don't care about winning, and spend their time counting their money. I believe that is only partially true. Larry Tanenbaum, a minority owner for the Leafs, most likely wants to win. It has been the OTPP that has caused the misconception, and by the Leafs ridding themselves of the OTPP, the misconception should disappear.
This opens up the question that some Leafs fans have been asking themselves: Who could buy Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment and improve the Leafs? Whoever it is, he could very well appear as the savior of the Leafs, but if success didn't happen soon he would find himself in the same mess the teachers are in now.
Could the buyer be a communications company that has been rumored in the Toronto Star? What about someone who is already part of the Leafs ownership? Maybe it will be someone who Gary Bettman doesn't really like. Then again, someone we're not expecting could come out of the woodwork and make the OTPP an offer they can't refuse.
Without further ado, let's start the slideshow.
Already the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Communications was rumored to have interest in buying the Leafs this past December. Now, only three months later, the interest probably hasn't dissipated.
If Rogers does end up buying MLSE, they will officially own the city of Toronto. They would then own the Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, Marlies and Toronto FC. They would be the only corporation or person that owns teams in all three major sports leagues. The only Toronto pro teams they wouldn't own would be the CFL's Argonauts and the NLL's Rock.
Under Rogers' control, the Toronto Blue Jays have steadily become a better team. One has to wonder if they can bring similar success to the Leafs and Raptors. As for money, Rogers will have no problem giving up the $1.3 billion that the teachers are asking for.
Some might say that the question is when will Rogers take over, not if.
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After unsuccessful attempts to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes, BlackBerry mogul Jim Balsillie might take a shot at the big fish of the NHL.
Balsillie definitely wants to own an NHL team, and he just might be the perfect owner for the Leafs. With his passion for hockey, Balsillie would do anything he could to help the Leafs win.
However, there is one major issue that will keep Balsillie from owning the Maple Leafs, and that is his relationship with Gary Bettman. There is no doubt that with his repeated attempts to buy NHL teams and move them to Hamilton, Ontario he has burned more than a few bridges with the NHL commissioner and his pals.
Balsillie would definitely have the money to buy the Leafs, but would Bettman allow Balsillie to buy the team that makes him the most money? Although this could be the best option for the Leafs, it is not very likely.
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Larry Tanenbaum currently owns 20.5 percent of the Leafs so he will be part of the Leafs sale no matter what. Tanenbaum has the right of first refusal, so if anyone is to buy the Leafs, they have to work with him.
There is also the question of whether Tanenbaum wants to grow his stake in the Leafs. He has shown interest in the past but this time the price tag might be too high for him, so he might need help.
While he will more than likely not grow his stake in the Leafs ownership, Tanenbaum will be an important figure in the sale.
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Wayne Gretzky might be able to finally come to the Leafs. Although, if he were to buy a stake in the Leafs ownership, I think it would most likely be as a partnership with Tanenbaum.
This depends on the Great One's desire to return to the game of hockey. As we all know, his ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes didn't exactly go that well. Maybe that caused him to feel like he didn't want to do it again. I find it much more likely that he wants to get back into the game to prove that he can do the job well.
While Gretzky is very wealthy, I wonder if he would be able to put up the money the teachers are asking. Gretzky and Tanenbaum could partner up so Tanenbaum could grow his stake and Gretzky could get his second chance.
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It could be that someone we're not expecting will come out of nowhere and put an offer up on the Leafs. There are plenty of billionaires out there that might want to have a piece of the biggest team in the NHL.
Whoever it could be, I'm hoping that he would care more about winning than the money he could make. The Buffalo Sabres now have an owner like that, and hopefully the Leafs could have one too. The last thing Toronto needs is another owner that doesn't care about winning a little trophy we know as Stanley.
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While it will most likely take several months for the Leafs to be sold, it will be a situation that everyone in the NHL will be looking into for the entire time.
Whether it's Rogers, Balsillie, Tanenbaum or someone else.