The Business of Ball with Joseph James Francis
Why I Don’t Care About the Toronto Maple Leafs
Monday, November 13, 2017
As the NHL rolls into the Christmas season we get ready to see what our teams are really made of. Our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs are doing well and right in the thick of things. They currently sit tied for 2nd in the Eastern Conference and 3rd in the entire league. Despite this, my excitement level for the Leafs right now is at the same level as it is for the upcoming curling season. Now before you take me for someone who doesn’t watch hockey, know this wasn’t always the case. My reasons for not following the Leafs anymore and not caring what they do are not of my own doing. The Leafs caused me to not care anymore, and the reasons are strictly business. I have thought about it long and hard and came up with several reasons many years ago why I can’t cheer for them.
They have proven to me long ago that they are not concerned about winning. Set aside the last few years and they have a track record of not caring at all about contending. The Leafs have been the picture of mediocrity since they won the cup back in 1967. They had a few runs with glory in the early 90’s and then again in the late 90’s but for the most part, it has been a gong show. For the Leafs, as long as the seats are full it doesn’t matter if they stink or not. Luckily for ownership, the seats are always full. With a string of terrible free agent signings like David Clarkson, Dion Phaneuf, Jonathon Bernier and Eric Lindros far past his prime we see what they are made of. I think this is not only because they are unwilling to spend money for top level players, but are also confused as to who is top level.
Foolish blind optimism is the trademark of the Toronto Maple Leaf Fan. I have seen ordinary goals cheered for when they are down 6-0. I have seen the talk of Stanley Cup many, many times when this team has not put a legit Stanley Cup contender on the ice in my lifetime. I have seen sell-out after sell-out even though the people going are only there to boo. Remember that jersey thrown on the ice? That jersey cost over $100 and the seat close enough to throw it on the ice was over $200. It is absolutely appalling how blinded and foolishly loyal Leafs fans are when all their team has done to them is stab them in the back. Every 3-game winning streak brings the “This is the year,” conversation back to the foreground. Just a heads-up Leafs nation…. This isn’t the year.
Lastly, and most importantly
It wouldn’t be the business of sports without me bringing up money. This is my most important reason for hating the Leafs, even though I love them. The fact that they have virtually priced out the average fan from watching a game live makes me sick. The lower bowl platinum seats are impossible to get and if you do get a chance they are in the $300 range, minimum. Those high-priced seats are almost all occupied by corporations and are often empty. Sadly, even the nosebleed seats are over $100 not to mention that beers will cost you an arm and a leg. Add together my first and second points and you have a recipe for my withdrawal from Leafs Nation. Don’t think I’m being reasonable? Well check this out:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Value of Team: 1.15 Billion
Average Resale Ticket Price: $373
Stanley Cups Since 1970: 0
New Jersey Devils
Value of Team: 330 Million
Average Resale Ticket Price: $127
Stanley Cups Since 1970: 3
Value of Team: 360 Million
Average Resale Ticket Price: $102
Stanley Cups Since 1970:
Even Anaheim and Carolina have won a Stanley Cup and they charge roughly $95 for a resold ticket. All the money in the world and the most passionate fan base in hockey and they have no desire to produce a winner. Don’t let the recent string of good play fool you when it comes time to pay these boys what they deserve Toronto will drop the ball. It is probably why no marquee players want to play for the Leafs. Even hometown boys like Rick Nash and Steven Stamkos ran for cover. For all you die-hard Leaf fans out there, I hope I am wrong.
Joseph James Francis is a Financial Advisor, Money Coach and Blogger
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