Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Do the Maple Leafs benefit by having a second NHL team in Toronto?

Is there any chance at all that having a second NHL team in Toronto would be good for the Maple Leafs?  Sure, they wouldn't be the sole source of hockey in the GTA, but then again, could a new rivalry create even greater interest in hockey?  Could the competition mean even greater revenue and success for their franchise?

I know they think they don't want to split the pie, they want to have the market 'captive', but don't they already have a tonne of local fans who root for the Flames or Sens or Canadiens or Bruins already?  With so much media coverage of other teams and games being available, is it time to take a farsighted look at how to grow the game?  Does having two teams mean more little guys taking up hockey in Ontario, countering the trend we're seeing now as participation in minor hockey slumps?

The easy answer is for the Leafs to maintain their monopoly, but I wonder how much better the game would be if we had a situation like New York where they have the Mets and Yankees, the Giants and the Jets.  The NY example doesn't really carry over to the NHL, since the Devils and Islanders are both suffering financially, but certainly Toronto is a big enough market to carry two teams.  The only question is do the Leafs lose more than they gain by allowing this expansion.

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