Tim Leiweke, architect of the AEG sports empire that includes the Stanley Cup champion Kings and Staples Center, didn’t spend long on the sidelines. He was hired Friday as the president and chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in Toronto.
MLSE is the parent company of the Maple Leafs, the Raptors of the NBA, Toronto FC of MLS plus a junior-level hockey team called the Marlies as well as Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto. Leiweke begins his new job June 30.
“I’m honored and excited to be chose to lead MLSE, a world-class sports and entertainment organization with the major league teams, premier facilities and employee team that rank with the very best across North America and internationally,” Leiweke said in a statement released by the organization. “MLSE is woven into the character of Toronto. The loyal and passionate fans of MLSE’s teams want sports championships for this great city. They want excitement on the ice, on the court, on the pitch and on the stage. And they want MLSE to be an active part of their community. I am committed to delivering for them when I begin my new role as CEO of MLSE.”
Leiweke was a popular punching bag for many years for Kings fans who expected more from the team under his tenure. He delivered big-time when the Kings won the first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s inglorious 45-year- history last June.
Earlier this year, Leiweke stepped down at AEG and a new era began, one with Philip Anschutz shedding the perception of him as an absentee owner and taking a greater leadership position after the company decided to take itself off the market. It had been up for sale, with an uncertain amount of interest.
“There’s only a handful of companies out there like AEG, and he ran that company for a while,” so it’s not surprising to see him find a job with a similar company,” Kings team captain Dustin Brown said of Leiweke. “Good for him, right? Tim was the base of it. Phil’s always been great. Now that Tim’s out of here, I’ve seen Phil a little bit more. He doesn’t like to be front-and-center, which is his personality. But for Tim to get another job, obviously, that’s good for him.”
Leiweke spent 17 years with AEG.