Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maple Leaf Sports plans broadcast gamble

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is poised to take a billion-dollar gamble in broadcasting.
Now that the “for sale” sign has been taken off Canada’s highest-profile sports company, sources say Maple Leaf Sports is planning to move ahead and develop a regional sports channel that would show Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC games.
It will be a complex and risky move that will require difficult negotiations with cable operators and advertisers alike. Sports industry executives say a search committee formed by Maple Leaf Sports to find its next chief executive is considering a former Montreal Canadien for the job.
Pierre Boivin, a highly regarded veteran of the sport industry, was the Canadiens president from 1999 until earlier this year. He also worked as chief executive of Bauer Nike Hockey and now works with Claridge, a Montreal firm that manages the interests of the billionaire Bronfman family.
Maple Leaf Sports is searching for a new leader because chief executive Richard Peddie will retire by year’s end.
While the company’s teams struggled, Peddie was a business visionary, and helped to create new revenue sources with condominium developments and a sports-themed restaurant. His successor will inherit a company where the overarching concern involves a network startup.
Creating a new regional sports channel could generate billions of dollars for Maple Leaf Sports.
Full story by The Star's Rick Westhead:

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