SBD/August 28, 2014/Franchises

Leiweke Discusses MLSE Exit, Says "Brutally Honest" Nature Caught Some Off Guard

Leiweke is eyeing an Air Canada Centre upgrade in the near future
Outgoing Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that his desire to "be an entrepreneur led to his decision to leave" the company, according to the CP. Leiweke conducted multiple radio interviews yesterday, during which he indicated that he and the MLSE exec board "knew his stay would be a short one because he wanted to run his own business." Leiweke said, "That was always my intention. I took a timeout from that dream to come here to help create the right atmosphere and culture for our dream here at Maple Leaf Sports." Leiweke said that at times during his 16 months on the job, he "came off as brutally honest, which caught some people off-guard." He added, "Occasionally my energy level and my drive and my bullish attitude towards attacking problems and solving problems is hard for some people. But that's, I think, why they wanted me here. They knew and I knew that that kind of style is not a style that lasts for 10 years." Leiweke said that before he leaves MLSE, he "wanted Toronto FC to make the playoffs for the first time in its history, the Maple Leafs to get back to the playoffs and the Raptors to build on their best season to date" (CP, 8/27).

LEAFS BRANCHING OUT: SPORTSNET's Mike Johnston reported Leiweke "has his sights set on the Air Canada Centre," after securing a new practice facility for the Raptors and a renovation plan for BMO Field. Leiweke said, "We are now talking to (MLSE ownership) about a major upgrade to Air Canada Centre in time for the NBA All-Star Game (in 2016). I don’t think it’s any secret we’re trying to bid on the World Cup of Hockey for 2016 for Toronto. We’d like to have the all-star game here for the NHL for our 100th year anniversary. All of this takes money and all of this requires us to makes sure that the ACC is a better fan experience for everybody" (SPORTSNET.ca, 8/27).
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