Selling Ice to Eskimos
Although the Toronto Maple Leafs have been a complete failure on the ice over the past decade, they have been the exact opposite off of it. The Leafs franchise is making money hand over fist with a fan base that seems to care little whether they win or lose. Now while I’m sure most fans are longing for the team to win the Stanley Cup, I’m also pretty sure the Leafs could go 0-82 and still sellout every game.
Anytime you have a business that sells a lot of people a bad product and gets those customers to return over and over again, it’s a license to print money. There is little to no pressure from a financial standpoint for the Leafs to improve. Teams like Dallas, Florida, and Phoenix need to make the playoffs for the very survival of their franchise. Not so in a Canadian market and especially in Toronto.
The Leafs business model actually reminds me of the way McDonald’s operates. Think about it for a minute. McDonald’s offers a crappy product as far as substance and health goes, but yet its branding and marketing make it beloved by billions all over the world. No matter how bad for you the food is, that Golden Arch is embedded in your brain so you keep going back. Sound like the Leafs? It doesn’t matter what the team does, MLSE just keeps drawing people in.
So at least Leaf fans can take solace in the fact that there are no health issues with rooting for Toronto. Well that is as long as you don’t get stressed out easily, suffer from hypertension or anger management problems.
Well MLSE has attempted to rectify this by apologizing. I for one felt all the anguish and frustration of once again missing the playoffs melt away after hearing Brian Burke apologize.
Seriously though what can MLSE do to for the fans? It’s meaningless to apologize because that is basically admitting they didn’t do all they could to win both on and off the ice. If that’s the case then there are much bigger problems in Leaf land.
How about offering tickets at a 5% discount every year until they make the playoffs? This would really put some real pressure on the team to win. Not to mention something tangible that the fans would appreciate.
What about making Burkie Dogs free at every home game the Leafs play in when they sit outside of a playoff position? That may cause too much of a mass panic though and get animal rights activists in a stir from the amount of hot dogs they will undoubtedly go through.
Maybe MLSE could mail everyone an official jersey who can produce a ticket stub from a game this past season? Then your average fan wouldn’t have to take a second mortgage out on their house to purchase one.
The fans of the team certainly deserve something for their troubles in recent years. The money that is spent on the team by its supporters give management and ownership the best financial position in the league to acquire players. And yet they now remain the only team that hasn’t seen the postseason since the lockout.