Tim Leiweke on why the Seattle NHL team could be ‘the greatest story’

The Athletic
MLSE president Tim Leiweke James Alexander Michie

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 14 - MLSE president Tim Leiweke during a press conference introducing Brendan Shanahan as new Maple Leafs president at the Air Canada Centre, April 14, 2014. Shanahan and Nonis will be the top managers of the hockey club. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Timothy J. Leiweke is an American sports executive who is the CEO of Oak View Group. Leiweke was the former president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and the former president and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). Leiweke had approximately a 4% stake in AEG starting in 2012 and is well known for his relationship with the notoriously lonely founder of AEG and Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz, whom he has known since the early nineties. Since November 2015, Leiweke has served as CEO of Oak View Group, “a global advisory, development and investment company for the live sports and entertainment industries.”

Now, he is back in hockey. It’s not that Leiweke has really left.

He became the co-founder of Oak View Group, based in Los Angeles, in 2015, after leaving Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Maple Leafs and the NBA Raptors, where he was president and CEO.

Likewise, Leiweke’s younger brother, Tod, is the president and CEO of NHL Seattle, and Oak View is the developer of the KeyArena renovation project. Last week, the Seattle Times reported that the project cost is expected to exceed $ 900 million. The expansion hockey team will join the NHL for the 2021–22 season, led by a group of owners with majority owner David Bonderman and Hollywood film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

‘The best story’

Now, Tim Leiweke explains why the Seattle NHL team could be “the best story.

In fact, I assure “Seattle could be the best story”, said Tim Leiweke. “Forever”. Why? Leiweke points out that the owners are willing to commit to doing it right. In fact, he says that the support there is amazing. As good as Vegas is, without disrespect to Las Vegas, Seattle could be even better. It is a mass market and acts as a Canadian city.

In the same way, it establishes that we are very lucky. We entered at the right time and in the right place: from 16,000 to 17,000 people who connected since they found out they were number 50,000 on the waiting list. Think about it. “Okay, the number on the waiting list is 49,487”. “I’m not getting the ticket”.

That being the case, he emphasizes the moment when he realized that Seattle could be something special. In this way, he said, “The first time we went there and looked around. How can the 12th largest market, which will soon be the top 10, not have a new building? How can you not have a hockey team or a basketball team? And you looked around and saw that the Sounders (MLS) are phenomenal, the Seahawks are phenomenal. Although they have fought and have not found their way, the baseball team (the Mariners) attracts well”.

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Source: Lisa Dillman | The Athletic

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