September 07 2012 12:42PM
This may be an extended offseason, so to break up the time, some of the writers on TLN are exchanging emails to each other, discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs and NHL hockey as whole. Today's topic is ESPN The Magazine's assertion that the Maple Leafs are the single worst major pro sports team for fan experience in all of North America.
From: Danny Gray
To: Steve Dangle, Gus Katsaros, Cam Charron
Subj: The worst team
I'll never understand why these things praise "affordability" and "ownership-fan relations" or "in-house experience" over you know, selling a whack tonne of tickets, TV spots, and gear. Who cares if the Florida Panthers have cheap seats and really funny jumbo-tron videos or t-shirt cannons, you still have to watch the Florida freaking Panthers. The list is basically: Teams that haven't won a championship recently but still charge a lot for tickets. And by that criteria the Leafs obviously suck, the funny thing is that the other 29 teams in the league would kill to be in this circumstance.
At this exact moment the league is attempting to cry poor because so many teams are losing money, some of them actually win hockey games and make the playoffs and still can't turn a profit. Then you have the Leafs who make what, twice the ticket revenue of the bottom half of the league combined? And they are made to be a laughingstock, or labelled "the worst" franchise. It doesn't make any sense.
I understand that a large part, hell, really, the only part about professional sports is winning. And the Leafs more or less suck at that. But the business side is part of what makes the NHL and part of
what makes that winning mean something. If it were simply about winning hockey games everyone would go crazy over the Calder Cup, but they don't. It's the fact that the NHL has a legacy of being the best league in which hockey is played, and the Leafs have been an essential part of making the NHL what it is today. Furthermore their financial clout props up teams who the market has otherwise deemed a failure. Yet somehow they are the worst.
In conclusion, this list is dumb. And everyone knows the Senators are the worst team anyway.
From: Steve Dangle
To: Danny Gray, Gus Katsaros, Cam Charron
Subj: RE: The worst team
Aren't they also below the "Atlanta Thrashers"?
Sent from my iPhone
From: Cam Charron
To: Steve Dangle, Danny Gray, Gus Katsaros
Subj: RE: Re: The worst team
I take issue with the fact that they're also below the Sacramento Kings, who may not have a team next season.
Funny, though, you look at previous rankings. Last season, Tampa, Pittsburgh and Buffalo were 1, 2 and 3 for the NHL. I assume these came out in the summer, because Toronto was ranked below Atlanta again, and you see how that worked out.
Ever watch ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie" segment? It's sometimes on TSN or TSN2 or whichever channel doesn't have enough original programming. They base rankings on subjective, unproven measures. Nevermind some of these places don't have teams anymore, or won't have teams anymore, and will give back zero on fan investment, all that matters is the players' "effort on the field and likability off of it" which can apparently be quantified in the ESPN offices.
From: Gus Katsaros
To: Cam Charron, Steve Dangle, Danny Gray
Subj: RE: Re: Re: The worst team
What a stupid article. It misses the mark in almost its entirety.