Leafs TV A Welcome Change
In an occurrence that has become slightly less frequent than Wade Belak falling for no particular reason; the Toronto Maple Leafs broadcast their game last night on Leafs TV. (I'd link to the game, but... Well...)
In the "Old" NHL this could be easily justified. With no cap on players' salaries and essentially irrelevant revenue streams from television deals, the Maple Leafs could leverage their fan base into "paying" to watch games on TV; on the basis this would provide additional revenue, and, that fans could assume said revenue would be invested into personnel.
Now? The allocation of games on a specialty channel for the purpose of a wider profit margin is likely to garner the same public reaction as the Liberal campaign.
Having said all that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with shifting games to Leafs TV.
As fans it is our responsibility to understand professional sports in more of a literal sense. For starters, let us first try and understand the title: Professional, Sports.
If a high school hockey team decided to start charging the student body for admission to a pep-rally, this would be a problem. In amateur athletics the number one priority of every organization should be the promotion of goodwill in the community. Give and take. Principally because, in most cases the community is facilitating the teams existence by birthing and conditioning a healthy portion of its fans and participants.
The Toronto Maple Leafs on the other hand are held responsible to one singular thing: their business model.
If Torontonians are going to happily support a franchise that takes more liberties with their partner than Kevin Federline, we have to be prepared for something like this:
Sooner rather than later every single Leaf game - including, playoffs - will be broadcast on Leafs TV. Moreover, there will almost certainly be years when the Maple Leafs do not dispense all of their allotted funds into the player payroll. This will happen in the face of rising ticket prices, corporate attitudes and the media forecasting the Maple Leafian Apocalypse. Eventually Ted Rogers will pay close to a billion dollars for the franchise and subsequently request the first born child of every perspective season-ticket holder; thus completing his monopoly, and finally, Pierre McGuire's head will explode on live television.
Them the breaks. So either we pay Maple Leafs TV their fee, or just completely let ourselves go a la Jalen Rose, and hope we frighten the Leafs into retreat. There are not any other options at our disposal.
Feel free to disagree, but it almost seems like the city of Toronto finds its identity through their dissatisfaction with the Leafs. A plausible argument would be that the fan base has been conditioned to expect the worse by the print media and sports radio personalities in the city. A sect of people that, in all likelihood, will harshly criticize the parade route when the Leafs next win the Stanley Cup.
Damien Cox even referred to the Leafs as the "1967 Champions" in his column yesterday; the equivalent of an owner electrocuting his dog with one of those necklace thingies just for comedy's sake. Its been that long Mr. Cox? You're kidding?!?!
From my standpoint Maple Leafs TV should have the exclusive rights to broadcast its namesakes hockey games. Aside from being a sensible connection, the statistics allude to the Leafs being an exceptionally successful organization since they became the conglomerate we recognize them as today.
Oh, and one more thing. Maybe its just me, but I fail to recognize the difference between the Canadian taxpayer subsidizing the CBC to pay enormous amounts of money to Ron MacLean, Don Cherry and the entire Hockey Night In Canada ensemble, and Maple Leafs TV charging people a marginal monthly fee to watch their games.
In fact, it seems like a good trade. (Pun, intended.)
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