Leafs Nation Network was once an incredibly popular channel on TV — however things have drastically changed with the growing of digital media consumption.
MLSE confirms end of Leafs Nation Network, citing "new and increasing opportunities to share content on digital platforms". Intent is to offer the same game day and practice coverage "combined with exciting new content on social platforms". Details on live Marlie games to come.
As much as we hate to think about it, TV is starting to die out. With the number of social media and streaming platforms, everyone seems to flock there for consumption, leaving television out to dry.
Other sports throughout North America and the world are making deals with streaming services to show live games — it’s all happening fairly quick. For example, the Premier League in the UK, although still on TV there, has a deal with FuboTV to stream games throughout Canada and the US.
MLB has a deal to show a few games throughout the season on both AppleTV and YouTube. The most interesting, of all, though, is MLS, who has struck a 10-year global deal with AppleTV to move all of their games to the platform in 2023.
With the way everything is going — especially since Leafs Nation Network doesn’t air Maple Leafs games anymore — it only seemed destined that they would move to online only.
It makes a lot of sense, too, actually.
TV streaming services are currently where the money is at. Look at Disney+, Netflix, AppleTV, Prime Video, DAZN, and even YouTube — people don’t want to be strapped to a time to watch something, they want to be able to watch it whenever possible for them.
The only concerning thing, to me, about Leafs Nation Network shutting down is where would they stream Marlies games. Other than on AHLtv, there’s now no place to watch those games. Maybe they’ll air them on their website, but I’m not sure how much money they could generate from that.
I’m curious to see what happens there.
Leaving TV isn’t a bad thing for the Maple Leafs — in fact, it’s probably an exciting opportunity for them. There are so many different ways to monetize content these days that the team could likely air content somewhere that’s free for the users to look at, like YouTube, and still make money.
This will give the Maple Leafs organization a chance to connect even closer to their fanbase, in my opinion.
I’m surprised no one predicted that Leafs Nation Network would shut its doors sooner, especially when they were airing Leafs Daily onto YouTube. Although I don’t know their plans, I could only guess that this was a test run to see how it would do as a regular occurrence on YouTube.
And again, this makes so much sense for them.
Fans don’t have the time anymore to go and watch Leafs Nation Network from home, and some might not use their app. So, what’s the next best option? A platform where video is number one, and that’s YouTube.
According to Google, over 16 million Canadians streamed YouTube on their TV screens back in December of 2021. If that doesn’t tell you where TV is headed, I’m not sure what will.
It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Maple Leafs move more of their content to TikTok as well, since the two already have a partnership.
Although it’s in fact a sad time to see Leafs Nation Network go off the air, it’s also an exciting time to be a fan because there’ll likely be more content than ever to consume.