Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Raptors' Tim Leiweke explains 'We The North' mentality
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO and President Tim Leiweke, who is in charge of Toronto Raptors, spoke extensively with NBA SPORT PUDATES Here is more from that interview, detailing his plans for the Raptors, Canadian basketball, rapper Drake and Steve Nash.
On Toronto as a world-class city and Raptors' potential:
Toronto has a unique situation where, in the eyes of the rest of the world, it's seen as a beacon. Maybe that's the advantage of Canada compared to the U.S.
Toronto's a place that is extremely well known and well thought of in places like Asia and, when you combined Drake and the amount of attention he gets, what it taught was is that we have a unique moment. Unlike a lot of other places in the NBA, we can get a lot more traction because people are much more familiar with our city. In the case of Asia, 51% of the people who live in Toronto were not born in Canada and many of them came from places like China. It represents to us a huge opportunity.
When you look at Toronto, it's the fastest growing city in North America. It's the No. 3 metropolitan area in North America. It's clean. The people are kind. It's a vibrant economy.
And by the way, we have 35 million people in our fanbase. Not the Knicks, not the Lakers, not the Clippers, not the Nets. The No. 1 largest fanbase potential in the NBA in the history of our league is the Toronto Raptors.
How many people get to go a franchise and put it on the map with 35 million people? That's a challenge that's only unique to this organization and can only be done by one team. … There's no other team in the NBA that can go through the growth spurt we're about to go through. What a great gift if we can do it right. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?