SBD/March 22, 2013/Franchises

Could Tim Leiweke's Next Gig Be At The Helm Of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment?

Leiweke resigned from AEG last week after serving as President and CEO since '96
Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment is “a company with needs, and perhaps the biggest need of all is vision and the leadership to implement it,” according to Michael Grange of SPORTSNET.ca. Change starts “at the top, and if they gave out MVP awards for sports executives,” former AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke “would have his share.” Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Leiweke “was in Toronto the day before and may have met with MLSE about taking over the top job.” But a source said, “I don’t think he was here and if he was he wasn’t here to meet with MLSE. And it would be strange for him to be here and not reach out to them.” Leiweke is “close” to MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum “through their roles as governors with both the NHL and MLS, but Tanenbaum is not currently in Toronto.” A source said, “He’s an obvious candidate for the job. Even if you had a one per cent chance of getting him you’d be stupid not to talk to him.” Former MLSE President & CEO Richard Peddie said, “I think Tim Leiweke is the No. 1 sports business guy in the United States. And I say that to mean he’s going to have options.” Grange wrote Leiweke would represent “the rare executive voice with first-hand knowledge of how winning franchises manage themselves” (SPORTSNET.ca, 3/21). In Toronto, Dave Feschuk writes MLSE aiming to land Leiweke “could easily be spun as wishful thinking.” Leiweke is a “coveted free agent,” and MLSE is “sure to be among a host of suitors.” This is “not to say he’s been offered the job or even interviewed for it.” It is seen as “a sure thing that MLSE will reach out to Leiweke to gauge his interest,” as he would provide “rare energy and connectivity.” But a “key question is whether Leiweke is overqualified to run MLSE” (TORONTO STAR, 3/22).
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