This time it’s been confirmed by the organization.

So much for “100 percent untrue.”

As relayed by the Toronto Star, MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke will be leaving his role with the organization by Jun. 30, 2015, or when a new successor is named.

If the earlier reports are to be believed, a myriad of factors might be at play with his decision. There’s hints about the brutal weather being a factor, as well as the possibility to latch on with a potential NFL group looking to relocate to Los Angeles.

The news is certainly a disappointment, as Leiweke’s work with the Raptors has been mostly positive. While it’s unclear as to how much hands on impact he really had on the day-to-day operations, he did bring on Masai Ujiri and Drake, won the 2016 NBA All-Star game bid, and launched a highly successful media campaign.

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  • Brian Gerstein

    Huge loss for the Raptors, but as you aptly pointed out, he certainly did more than any Raptor fan could ask for, and even as a lame duck, should be able to hopefully stay the course. Moronic dysfunctional ownership relationship between Bell/Rogers is the real culprit, and Leiweke was justifiably fed up from what I read the past few days. BOL to him, if he lands with the Clippers, or a new NFL team in L.A.

    • jlamb

      Well, was gonna comment but this pretty much sums up what I was going to say.

    • Herms

      Here here, Brian! Especially the part about “moronic dysfunctional ownership”. I think the Rogers/Bell board is actually at the point where their bruised egos are more important than money (let alone actually producing winning teams). Leiweke has proven he can create a winning culture within the organization, which has undoubtedly resulted in higher ratings and gate revenues for both TSN and Rogers, but nobody seems to care in that boardroom. Both shareholders and fans should be incensed at this news.

    • golden

      Way too early to blame MLSE. Yes, I know they are the usual suspects, but Leiweke himself said he wants to pursue his own business. The guy wants to be THE BOSS, per this report ….

      “Once he leaves, the longtime sports executive plans to pursue his goal of owning and operating his own business..”

      • Ghotte

        Yeah, because he likely couldn’t stand the knobs above him…ALL with questionable ability. Don’t forget, he cleaned house upon arriving and there’s absolutely no criticism organization-wide that what he did was unnecessary.

      • raptortruther

        Also, Bell/Rogers are irritating in many, many ways, but they only just took over MLSE from a profit-only pension fund. They actually hired Leiweke and supported his mandate to clean house. It hardly seems fair to blame them for the decades of disfunction MLSE underwent before Leiweke was hired.

        • LuckyMystery

          I agree with this.

          Also no one is mentioning that he had a 2 year non compete to work in the States. That will be up right around the june 2015 timeframe. This may have absolutely nothing to do with MLSE, and more to do with his own desire to work for a major American corporation

      • Herms

        I think you guys are seriously underestimating just how underhanded the board of directors at Bell and Rogers are. Have a read:

        While I agree that three years is a very short time to judge the ownership of a corporation, I’d like to point out that Rogers has owned the Jays for 14+ years, and you have to ask yourself if they’ve brought a winning attitude to that team.

        This nonsense about Leiweke “abandoning” the people of Toronto for his own interests is exactly what the board wants you to believe. I’m personally not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        • NoSubstance

          There is zero substance in that article that you imply shows the MLSE board is underhanded. Nothing but speculation even comes close to implying such, but even that doesn’t.

          As far as “exactly what the board wants you to believe” goes, that’s not coming from the board, but is opinions only from people listening to Leiweke himself. MLSE hired him, then asked for commitment beyond June, which he declined. What’s so difficult to interpret the reality here?

          • Herms

            Well, that’s kind of the point. There will probably never be concrete evidence of what really happened behind the scenes (on both sides of this argument). It simply comes down to the reputations of both parties involved. And like I said in my original post, I’m not willing to give the MLSE board the benefit of the doubt.

  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    would be a huge loss but at least now, he’s set the bar high for the next CEO, and MLSE should know now what they should expect and ask for from the next CEO. I actually think it will be good for the organization. Usually, the fire dies down after the initial onslaught, when the CEO starts getting comfortable with the owner and they become “friends”. No more demanding, pushing, aggressiveness. usually when the CEO gets settled in, he tends to overlook what needs to be improved and rather basks on what he has accomplished. A new CEO will have a fresh set of eyes that will look at the organization top to bottom and see where improvement is needed.

  • Trini

    Disappointed. Leiweke’s mindset was exactly what Toronto sports needed, and he’s made a massive impact on the Raptors and TFC in the short time he’s been here. What really annoys me is all the talk he did about Toronto being world-class and how people want to be here. Then he ups and leaves after what, 2-3 years?

    • MoPeteRules

      On the flip side, I think that’s a testament to how unbearable the ownership must have been. Leiweke is a bold, outspoken fellow and what fans really appreciate about him is his how willing he is to spend large sums of money in order to improve his teams. Only speculating here, but that must not have jived well with ownership and investors, and in that case you can’t blame him. Regardless, he’s planted some good seeds within the organization, and I wish him the best.

      • Peter G

        If that IS the case, then any seed that he planted will be swiftly squashed.

        • Herms

          Make no mistake, it will be. Just look at the state of the Jays right now. This is what happens when a boardroom full of telecom egos are allowed to run a team unimpeded. Leiweke was that impedance, and come 2015, we will no longer have this protection.

          • CJT

            You are either giving way to much credit to one man in terms of the culture of the organization or far too little credit to the team he assembled to carry out the cultural direction. I didn’t mind TL, but don’t for a minute believe that his leaving will have any significant directional ramifications on the Raps. MU is very smart and clearly has a plan going forward of how to get the team to where it needs to go. The success and/or failure of this team depends far more on him than it does the new boss.

        • Ghotte

          Can’t be squashed. They’re not going to remove *Actual Grass* from BMO Field and with Masai in charge of hoops there won’t be any drop-off. Only an idiot would squash a positive formula (and one can only hope the next Big Head isn’t strictly a puckhead!)

  • brother

    Bell/Rogers justifies the incredible expense in salary and transitional costs (i.e. all the hiring and firing in the shakeups in the various properties) by propping up the guy as a holier and better version of humanity than you. And then it comes down to something like “he didn’t like the winter”. ONE WINTER.

    You put guys like this on a pedestal thinking they’re on some higher plane of existence than you or me. They “think big” and that’s what justifies their tens of millions. They’re smarter, faster, more aggressive, well connected savants. All of that is horse**** because he didn’t anticipate that a city in the northeast would have snow in the winter.

    Same eval goes for the board of the MLSE. They spent tens of millions installing a saviour who didn’t anticipate cool weather and is reacting so badly to it that he’s throwing away what many would call the opportunity of a lifetime. By missing out on that key job interview question, they’re just as liable for this inexcusable disaster. There are few men in sport who have been granted as much power over such a gigantic organization – and he leaves it all over a couple of snowflakes. It might be cheaper to build an artificial sun rather than lose him and risk shaking up the organization again.

    Or his evil genius runs even deeper and he is indeed leaving to participate in a mega-millions type of NFL franchise bid. In any case, this is a clusterF*** of the highest order.

    • Will

      Do you really believe it’s because of the cold? There’s been one tweet about that and people are running with it. Do you really think asking him if he minds cold weather during the interview process would have helped? You think he would’ve fessed up and said yes? He’s leaving because he’s got better opportunities lined up.

      • brother

        No, Will. I don’t believe that it is the cold. But I believe the MLSE has screwed the pooch significantly. I also believe Lewike screwed everybody handily. My message is about hero worship and the fallacies that back such consideration. Nobody’s smart enough or honorable enough or faithful enough or good enough to justify the millions and worship and power that Lewike was granted. It is a flaw in the character and actions of the MLSE and exposes the flaws in Lewike’s character when he exploits the MLSE’s weakness. He sold them snake oil, and they bought it.

        How could the board misread Lewike and his intentions and motivations so badly? How could Lewike mistake his own life goals or the MLSE’s work environment so poorly when vetting the opportunity? There were many mistakes on both sides to be sure. In the end, I’m saying “trust nobody” and “nobody’s worth that kind of money and worship.” Not Ujiri. Not Lowry. Not Colangelo. Not Bargnani. Not James. Not Harden. Not Durant. Not Drake.

        I somehow wish it was the weather. Satirical or not, he’s leaving after less than two years. The reason matters not in the end. The MLSE screwed up big time in hiring Lewike and Lewike is about as faithful as a dime bag crack whore.

        • Will

          Why do you think we’re so screwed? And if you think we’re screwed without him, you obviously think he brought value to MLSE. Clearly he has done some great things and are we not better off having him done those things. It’s like having a great girlfriend and then she breaks up with you. If she just doesn’t see a future with you, it doesn’t mean you’ll never find someone as good. And it’s not like he’s leaving the organization in shambles. What’s the big deal?

          • brother

            You do not want a high profile, hyper-expensive employee to spurn you after 18 months. Particularly when that high profile employee radically revamped the entire organization as part of his long term plan. These transitions are expensive on many, many levels in dollars, reputation, political capital, etc. Lewike, for all his faults, is an extremely well-connected individual; you do not want him leaving an organization after just 18 months (18 months from the day he was hired until today, the day he announces he’s leaving 6 months from now). You don’t want him leaving because it puts in question the quality of the organization. During his “just hired” press campaign, Lewike gave countless speeches about how great Toronto, Canada, and the MLSE are and some small part of the world must have taken note. Now that he’s leaving after less than 18 months, what impression does that impart?

            I think Lewike made lots of great starts toward long term goals. None of those have yet been accomplished and the odds of them ever coming to fruition based on the partially implemented and extremely expensive plans of a former employee are low to be sure.

            You can’t execute a rebuild every 24 months in an org of the MLSE’s size and have that bode well. It just doesn’t. And his leaving points to weaknesses throughout the org that will remain in his wake.

            But Will other than being a Lewike and/or MLSE apologist or flat out troll, I don’t really see what your angle is here? Care to elaborate?

            • Ghotte

              “his leaving points to weaknesses throughout the org that will remain in his wake.”

              Further to that, what does it say about his belief that he could overcome whatever entrenched organizational obstacles that remain?

            • Will

              I just don’t see the doom and gloom that you’re predicting. To quote your previous post “In the end, I’m saying “trust nobody” and “nobody’s worth that kind of money and worship.” Not Ujiri. Not Lowry. Not Colangelo. Not Bargnani. Not James. Not Harden. Not Durant. Not Drake.” Should we just stop being fans because a high profile guy is leaving us? Would you rather he never came to MLSE? If you really feel like it’s that depressing, then have at it.

              • brother

                So then this is a Non-news item? Why did you read this thread? Is it good or bad? If it is neither, then it is inconsequential and this isn’t news and I question your reasons for participating in this thread at all. I guess you’re just another Internet cop enforcing your unbridled optimism on the rest of us who see this for what it actually is; a clusterF***.

                What I’d “rather” is that Tim Lewike stuck to his word. I’d rather that the MLSE gave him the support he needed to implement his master plan to its fruition . I’d rather not have to listen to another sales job from the next sheister they present on yet another fanfare filled press tour. You see, you can’t have it both ways; you can’t skywrite his name and have him doing daily national news interviews and getting full page spreads in every major paper touting what a phenomenal acquisition he is and then expect me to believe that his leaving is an equally good thing just 18 months later. You don’t get to do that; I caught you. If his coming is PHENOMENAL, EARTH SHATTERING, MESSIAH LIKE NEWS, then his leaving is the exact opposite.

        • GoingBig

          He was never hero-worshipped but people were glad he had skills and visions to wrest MLSE into some sort of direction – at least for the Raptors and the TFC. A good hire

          And his salary was never discussed – probably because it was the usual high amount for CEOs. Make megabucks for the business – get paid megabucks (players & execs included)

          I don’t see how he screwed anyone. Arrived, made useful changes, made a salary, and will depart after 2 years.
          I never thought the MLSE board screwed up in hiring. But I thought they always seemed to be difficult to work with and that’s one of the reasons to leave. Also the next step up is the NFL and maybe landing a possible L.A. franchise. And then I see him moving up to that opportunity.

  • hotshot


  • Peter G

    It’s somehow the fault of ownership. I just know it.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    I’ve got a horrible feeling that 3 years from now the Leafs win the Stanley cup and the raps are lottery bound.

    • Ghotte

      There’s no way the Leafs win anything. They are the poster child for dysfunction. Epic intervention is needed, and unfortunately, Leiweke isn’t there anymore.

      • TheSpiceTyrant

        Brendan Shanahan, his likely replacement doesn’t know shizzle about basketball… Nor soccer.

    • Truth Teller

      I would be surprised if they make the playoffs in 3 years.

  • justsayin

    I can’t help but think that the main problem was the leafs. and I’m happy to consider any suggestion that would increase my eternal hatred of that team.
    does anybody find it strange that MLSE is making these statues of Sir John A and the other fabled leafs of ancient hockey past just one year after TL decided they needed to take down the black and white photos of the forefathers and step into the 21st century?
    did MLSE have a conflict with TL over the raptors or TFC? he seemed to be very successful with both. the leafs on the other hand…

  • RK

    Didn’t see that coming, maybe his buddy Phil Jackson didn’t come to Toronto is a factor? All kidding aside, his heart and passion didn’t lie. His interview with George Stroumboulopoulos a few months back will be remembered by a lot of us forever.

  • Stef

    Well, that sucks bags-of-dicks. Looking at the Rogers-and-Bell partnership though, how many hardcore direct competitors who would love *nothing* more than to see the other guy go down in flames, the more cataclysmic the better, the way Rogers and Bell naturally look at each other, turn around and put all their differences aside to team up, hold hands and skip down the lane together, all the way to la-la-land? Is that scenario even possible? There’s a reason that whole thing seemed to stink right from the beginning.

    Plus .. if it’s true that Mrs. Leiweke hated the winter here as much as it sounds like she did — and it was a brutal damn winter, worse than usual — yeah. It’s not like it doesn’t add up. Sucks tho.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    ppl like him don’t just throw opportunities in the garbage.
    something else in the horizon, much bigger and better.
    it doesn’t really matter anymore, why. no one can make the decision for him, but himself.
    same with what james did this summer, on a smaller scale as a player. again, him or leiweke know the best what is good for them.
    life goes on

  • ad

    His exit just accentuates the incompetence of MLSE and the board.

  • CJT

    I guess I am disappointed that we are losing a seemingly effective leader, but I do not see this as a doom and gloom departure either. I have plenty of faith in MU to continue building the Raps the right way and hopefully whoever takes over at the top of the organization will continue to fight for all of the teams under the MLSE umbrella.

    • Will

      Glad to see at least some people aren’t overreacting.

  • ckh26

    Leaving because of the cold is a little red herring-ish.
    Leaving because his other half doesn’t want to be here contributes.
    Leaving because of friction between himself and the board of directors contributes.
    Leaving because he took called strike three on getting the NFL team outta Barfalo and into the t-dot contributes.
    Mix em all up… and you get an exit.
    No one thing was the tipping point but all of them together with some personality issues likely made the decision easy for both sides.

  • Lets Play

    I just hope we don’t get a Hockey Only CEO. Thank you Tim for being a CEO who actually cared about the non-hockey sports team under the MLSE organization.

  • Nose Nuthin

    We want Timmy boy to stay. Larry Tanenbaum needs to be bought out by Bell and Rogers so he will stop interfering and using players like they were his personal show ponies. The fans should have a say. MLSE should listen to their fans. Oust the Chairman of the Board. We need a fan revolution! Write to [email protected] and Edward Rogers, if you can figure out how to get through to him. Chant at every soccer, basketball, hockey game “WE WANT TIMMY!!! Out with Larry! WE WANT TIMMY!!! Out with Larry!WE WANT TIMMY!!! Out with Larry!….” It is up to us to fix MLSE cuz they don’t have a frickin clue.