MAPLE LEAF SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT - ONE OF NORTH AMERICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ORGANIZATIONS
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is a privately held corporation that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Toronto Marlies Hockey Club of the American Hockey League (AHL), Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, Air Canada Centre and two digital channels - Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV.
Formed in 1998 after the purchase of the Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Centre by Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd, MLSE's current ownership is comprised of the Teachers' Merchant Bank, the private equity arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Bell Globemedia, TD Capital Group and Kilmer Sports Inc., which is owned by MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum. The ownership's top priority is to provide the commitment and solid financial foundation essential to bringing the Stanley Cup and an NBA Championship to Toronto.
Richard Peddie, president and chief executive officer, leads MLSE with a dynamic vision that mirrors many Fortune 500 companies; bringing together three professional sports teams, a broadcast division and a state-of-the-art arena into one successful company. The organization is founded on its vision to create champions by "exciting fans, inspiring employees and bringing pride to the community." This guiding principle has contributed to the company's success, ensuring that MLSE's players, ownership, management and employees understand their role in supporting the vision.
MLSE diversified its sports team holdings in 2005 when Major League Soccer, a premier professional soccer league, granted Toronto a team after an agreement was reached to build a permanent soccer stadium at Exhibition Place. Toronto FC became Major League Soccer’s 13th team and began playing in April 2007.
MLSE has expanded its sports and entertainment brand reach through many city and community building projects and initiatives including the Maple Leaf Square development, a vibrant landmark that will be situated next to Air Canada Centre and includes a boutique hotel, condominium towers, restaurant and extensive retail offerings; a new 20,000 seat National Soccer Stadium on the grounds of Exhibition Place and the Oshawa Sports and Entertainment Complex that will become the new home to the OHL's Oshawa Generals.
These initiatives have supported creating a much larger significant stage for Toronto and support attracting global events to the city that support tourism and economic growth such as the World Cup of Hockey and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star Classic. As one of North America's premier venues, Air Canada Centre has been recognized with more than 18 industry awards in its six-year history from Major Facility of the Year, the U.S. based Facilities & Event Management Magazine's Prime Site Award to Tourism Toronto's Jeff Adams Access Award of Excellence for the facility's accessibility. The Leafs are one of the original six NHL teams and with a powerful 79-year history and the Raptors bring the glitz and glamour of the NBA to Canada.