Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
|Industry||Sports, property management|
|Founded||1931 (as Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd.)
1998 (present name)
|Headquarters||Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario|
|Key people||Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO
|Products||Professional sports teams, sports venues, sports channels, commercial real estate|
|Owner(s)||Rogers Communications – 37.5%
BCE Inc. – 28%
Kilmer Sports – 25%
BCE Master Trust Fund – 9.5%
|Subsidiaries||Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies, Toronto FC|
|References: Enterprise value — $2.25 billion USD (2011)|
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Limited (MLSE) is a professional sports company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Among its properties are the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League, the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. MLSE is also involved in property management, including ownership of the Air Canada Centre, the home arena of the Maple Leafs and Raptors.
The corporation's roots were established in 1927, after Conn Smythe organized a group of investors to purchase Toronto's premier hockey franchise, which had earned Stanley Cup championships in 1918 (as the Toronto Arenas) and 1922 (as the Toronto St. Pats), and renamed it the Maple Leafs. In 1931, a corporate reorganization resulted in the formation of Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. (MLGL), a management company that owned both the Leafs and the arena of the same name.
Although Smythe was the face of the Gardens from 1927 onward, he didn't acquire majority ownership until 1947. He sold the company to a syndicate headed by his son, Stafford, in 1961. When Stafford Smythe died in 1971, minority owner Harold Ballard bought his shares and headed MLGE until his death in 1989
Supermarket tycoon Steve Stavro led a group to buy the Maple Leafs from the Ballard estate in 1991. Larry Tanenbaum became a partner in 1996 with a 20% stake in MLGL. MLGL purchased the Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre in 1998, at which time the company adopted its present name. Stavro sold his stake to CTVglobemedia in 2003, and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan assumed controlling interest based on equity under the new ownership structure, with Tanenbaum taking over as non-executive chairman. On December 5, 2008, CTVglobemedia sold half of its 15% stake to Tanenbaum, making Tanenbaum the second-largest stakeholder. Each owner of MLSE has first right of refusal on any shares sold.
In April 2008, the Toronto Star reported that in a valuation commissioned by the company, MLSE was reported to be worth $1.75 billion USD. It was also reported that MLSE was considering the purchase of an English Premier League soccer team.
On August 20, 2009, Teachers' announced that it had agreed to purchase the remaining 7.7% stake in MLSE owned by CTVglobemedia.
On May 29, 2012, it was reported that MLSE were in talks to buy English association football (soccer) club Leeds United, after the Leeds United Supporters Trust put out a request for a takeover from majority shareholder Ken Bates. However, MLSE later denied that it was planning to purchase the club.
Sale of OTPP's stake
On December 9, 2011, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan officially announced the sale of its majority stake in MLSE to Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, in a deal expected to be valued at around $1.32 billion. Additionally, Larry Tanenbaum will increase his stake in the company to 25%. The deal required the approval of Canada's Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (with regards to MLSE's TV channels), as well as the NHL, the AHL, the NBA, and MLS (with regards to each of MLSE's main sports franchises).
The Competition Bureau announced on May 2, 2012 that it would not challenge the transaction at this time, but that it will "actively review" the situation in light of "serious concerns" expressed by various parties, reserving the right to take action at a later date. The NHL Board of Governors approved the sale at a meeting in Las Vegas on June 19, 2012. The final approval, that of the CRTC, was granted on August 16, with the commission noting that it only had jurisdiction over the TV channels owned by MLSE (the transfer of ownership of which, it decided, posed no major concerns), and not the broadcast rights associated with MLSE's teams. The transaction closed on August 22, 2012.
Following the transaction, the ownership of MLSE became divided as follows:
- 8047286 Canada Inc. (Rogers/Bell joint holding company) – 75%
- Kilmer Sports (holding company of Larry Tanenbaum) – 25%
This ownership structure means that, at the shareholder level, Rogers and Bell vote their overall 75% interest in the company together and thus must jointly agree on decisions affecting the company. (If Rogers and Bell owned their interests directly, either Rogers or Bell could be overruled by its competitor in combination with Tanenbaum.) Similarly, Rogers and Bell have agreed that their four (of six) directors on the MLSE board will always vote together, and thus that any disagreements between those two companies will be settled privately without the involvement of Tanenbaum.
Bell has indicated that the involvement of Bell's pension fund is, at least in part, intended to ensure Bell can retain its existing 18% interest in the Montreal Canadiens, as NHL rules prevent any shareholder that owns more than 30% of a team from being involved in the ownership of any other team.
Board of Directors
- Larry Tanenbaum – Kilmer Sports (Non-Executive Chairman of the Board)
- George A. Cope – BCE and Bell Canada
- Dale Lastman – Goodmans LLP
- Nadir Mohamed – Rogers Communications
- Edward Rogers – Rogers Communications
- Mary Ann Turcke – Bell Canada
- Tim Leiweke – CEO and President
- Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
- Valued at $1.15 billion USD in 2013, the Maple Leafs are the most valuable team in the NHL.
- Toronto Raptors (NBA)
- Valued at $382 million USD in 2012, the Raptors are the twelfth most valuable team in the NBA.
- Toronto FC (MLS)
- Valued at $121 million USD in 2012, Toronto FC is the fifth most valuable team in Major League Soccer.
- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
- TFC Academy
Facilities and properties
- Air Canada Centre, a multi-purpose indoor arena in Downtown Toronto, home arena of the Maple Leafs and Raptors. ($265 Million CAD)
- Maple Leaf Square, a real estate development in Downtown Toronto, adjacent to Air Canada Centre, developed in partnership with fellow OTPP subsidiary Cadillac Fairview. The development includes, among other tenants, the following businesses operated by MLSE:
- Real Sports Bar & Grill, a sports-themed restaurant
- Real Sports Apparel, a sports clothing store
- e11even, an upscale restaurant on the corner of Bremner and York streets.
MLSE also operates two facilities owned by the City of Toronto:
- BMO Field, home of Toronto FC (MLS) and the Canadian men's national soccer team (CONCACAF)
- Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
Practice facilities invested in:
- MasterCard Centre - practice facility for the Maple Leafs
- KIA Training Grounds - practice facility for Toronto FC
- Leafs TV, a specialty television channel devoted to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies
- NBA TV Canada, a local version of NBA TV which also devotes part of its schedule to specific coverage of the Toronto Raptors
- GolTV Canada (80.1% holding), a local version of GolTV, broadcasts selected Toronto FC games and other team coverage, along with various international soccer games.
Note that the valuations done by Forbes are not based on actual numbers provided by MLSE. In 2003, MLSE was internally valued at over $1 Billion CAD by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in its annual report. The December 2008 sale of 7.5% of the company to Larry Tanenbaum for $90 Million values the company at $1.2 Billion.
Recent or proposed projects
Maple Leaf Square
In April 2005, MLSE announced that they would be working with Cadillac Fairview (a wholly owned subsidiary of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan) and Lanterra Developments to build Maple Leaf Square, a major entertainment complex situated next to the Air Canada Centre in Downtown Toronto. The $500 million CAD complex will be a mixed use facility including office space, residential condo towers and 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) of retail and dining space.
The complex was completed in 2010 and features many amenities including the Hotel St. Germain, e11ven restaurant, Real Sports Apparel, Real Sports Bar and Grill, Longos grocery store, and condominium residences along with a connection to the neighbouring Air Canada Centre.
Real Sports channel
In November 2009, MLSE applied to the CRTC for a Category 2 digital TV license to operate a general interest sports service provisionally named Mainstream Sports, which was granted in June 2010. Since then, a number of media reports had suggested that MLSE was looking to use the licence to launch a channel to carry its teams' broadcasts, along the lines of team-owned regional sports networks in the United States such as YES Network and the New England Sports Network, with the tentative name "Real Sports" (in keeping with the branding of MLSE's sports bar and apparel store). It is not clear whether such a channel would have replaced, or be supplemental to, MLSE's existing digital channels.
With the sale of OTPP's interest in the company to Rogers and Bell, owners of Sportsnet and TSN respectively, and associated agreements around the division of MLSE teams' regional broadcast rights between those two entities, it is no longer expected that such a channel will launch.
- Westhead, Rick. "Leags owner eyes U.K. soccer". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- MLSE will buy GolTV; Slam.Canoe.ca; 2009-01-23
- Teachers' Pension Plan boosting stake in MLSE
- Hay, Phil (2012-05-29). "Leeds United in takeover talks with investors UPDATED". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- Rogers to buy Toronto Maple Leafs: Report; LeafsNews.com; 2010-12-01
- "BCE and Rogers team up to buy 75 percent of MLSE". TSN.ca. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
- Competition Bureau (2012-05-02). "Competition Bureau Statement on Bell and Rogers' Acquisition of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2012-08-16). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-443". Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- "Bell, Rogers now official owners of MLSE". The Globe and Mail. 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- BCE Inc. (2011-12-09). "Bell acquires ownership position in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment - MLSE". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Shoalts, David (2012-07-18). "MLSE board expected to undergo major change after sale is finalized". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- The Canadian Press (2011-12-09). "Bell to keep Canadiens stake". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Toronto Maple Leafs - Forbes.com
- Toronto Raptors - Forbes.com
- Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Teams
- Pataki, Amy (2011-01-28). "E11even Slams Diners Into Boards". The Star (Toronto).
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2011-06-18). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-395". Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Shoalts, David (2011-11-28). "What's next for MLSE?". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Westhead, Rick (2011-11-27). "Maple Leaf Sports plans broadcast gamble". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Krashinsky, Susan (2011-12-10). "Allure of certainty makes partners out of rivals Rogers, BCE". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 2011-12-10. "It also prevents the launch of a well-connected competitor. MLSE has a broadcast licence for a 'specialty' cable sports channel – tentatively named Real Sports, according to sources – that could have snatched away those games once the deals with Sportsnet and TSN had expired."
- Hartley, Matt. "Microsoft adds MLSE and Rogers to Xbox 360 offerings". The National Post. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- Vardi, Nathan. Winning Isn't Everything , Forbes, 2007-11-16.