Recently, the Toronto Star followed Ted Leonsis around for two days. The result was a story full of flattery that suggested that Toronto fans have “owner envy.”
One of the things that separates Leonsis from many other team owners is his accessibility. He regularly encourages fans to e-mail him when they have something to say, and his involvement in all things team related is personal. Currently, the Maple Leafs' majority owner is the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
“If I can win a championship and make a memory that 50 years later makes a grown man cry because he remembers the time he was with his dad or his friend or his mom, I mean, what a job,” Leonsis told the Star. “What a business that is.”
The “owner envy” is understandable.
Pension Plans don’t return e-mails. Pension Plans don’t sit courtside. Pension Plans don’t blog daily.
And Pension Plans don’t truly care if the team they own wins, as long as it makes them money. Right now, that’s not such an issue for Leonsis.
“On a cash basis? We’re not profitable,” he said. “We’ve never been profitable. We’re really close…. The building makes money and the Caps and the Wizards lose money and in the aggregate we’re pretty much breaking even.”
Take that, Pension Plan.