Look, let's be honest here. We're not happy with MLSE or the Leafs and we haven't been happy for a very long time. It's time to take action! If the home opener boycott fails this year we can still boycott those that are paying big sponsorship fees; the large corporations!
We can call for the firing of head coach Paul Maurice or General Manager JFJ and we can call for trading Raycroft and Sundin. We can whine and moan that the Leafs ownership are revenue-driven and not committed to winning a cup and that the Leafs are corporate-sponsored and that's what makes tickets so expensive. We can do all that and there are a million threads where all of that has been said. Some might have merit, some might not. But the fact is anything we say is meaningless. The Leafs ownership, management and players don't read the forums or take the advice of armchair quarterbacks. They are convinced they know the business better than we do and we are focused on only one aspect of their operations. Maybe they're right. Maybe we are. It doesn't matter. They don't listen to the fans.
But they do listen to their sponsors, the companies and corporations that buy advertising on the boards and signage at the ACC and pay for commercials on CBC and LeafsTV. CBC pays alot of money to air Leafs games because they can charge advertisers an arm and a leg for a 30-second spot. And why do advertisers shell out the big bucks? Because 1.5 to 3 million viewers tune into every Leafs game. That's a prime advertising market. And what do those advertisers want? They want us to buy their products or services.
And that's where we, the people, finally have the power. You see, we are consumers and, ultimately, it all comes down to whether we 'buy' the product or not. If we don't buy, companies panic. If they panic, they make changes. They talk to the Leafs and complain they are losing millions. They take their advertising dollar to where it will have a positive return. And we can make that happen.
Just as an example: a while back ago when Don Imus made sexist and racist remarks, the radio station was inundated with complaints. So were the sponsors. They immediately yanked their sponsorship and Don was canned shortly after that. They didn't want to be associated with his remarks. It's the same thing here. If companies want to be associated with a losing team, we won't support those companies.
You see, this isn't yet another in a long line of 'let's boycott the Leafs' ideas. This is what activists do when they want action. This is a 'let's boycott the sponsors' idea when all else has failed. After all, they give the Leafs money and we give them the money that they give to the Leafs. So, in a way it's boycotting the Leafs, but in an effective and meaningful way. You see, the Leafs couldn't really care less if we're disgruntled or not. Something like 70% of the seats are owned by corporations and long-time seasons ticket owners, another 20% are snapped up by scalpers and they will always be able to sell that last 10% no matter what fans are belly-aching about. So, we can't hurt the Leafs directly. Sure, we could stop buying Leafs jerseys and other products, but guess what? That doesn't hurt them. Other companies that manufacture all that stuff have already paid them wads of cash for the rights to make the 'official' stuff and the Leafs have already banked the money. We can't take it away from them. We'd only hurt the companies that have the rights to make the merchandise and if they complain to the Leafs, MLSE would just shrug and say 'that's business for ya.'
So, this is what we do:
We decide, as a group, on five advertisers who have invested heavily in the Leafs. It might be Canadian Tire or Esso, Rogers or McDonalds, but it has to be companies that depend on every day, average Canadians spending their money on their products and services and it has to be businesses that have strong competition that we can turn to. I mean, we can turn to Home Depot, Best Buy and Costco in place of Canadian Tire; we can go to Petro Canada or other gas stations instead of Esso. We can go to Wendys, Harveys or Burger King instead of McDonalds and we can go to Telus or Bell instead of Rogers.
We each advise their head offices that because the Leafs continually dismiss the fans desire for competitive teams, because there is mismanagement and a misguided philosophy guiding the Leafs, we refuse to patronize their services or stores and will take our business to their competition because their partnership with the Leafs means they agree with and condone the Leafs business plan.
If a large number of us publicly declare our boycott of their products in writing, they will take notice, believe me. My former role at Rogers was a Retention Specialist charged with the responsibility of keeping churn rates low, meaning it was my duty to keep customers from canceling services and going to the competition. Churn is the rate of lost customers versus new customer acquisition. Every company watches their churn rate very closely as it affects their stock price. If stock-holders see a drop in stock value, they let the Board of that company know they are displeased. So, really, it all comes down to us. If we don't give them our business, that is seriously big-time bad news for them. Heads roll. I've seen it at Rogers and I've seen it at Canada Trust when they were losing customers to the big banks. Keeping customers happy is very serious business.
We're not happy, are we? Let's let them know it. Rather than complain on web sites dedicated to the Leafs, we could take action.
Are you in? Are you ready to make a commitment to real action, definitive action? Are you ready to have the Leafs hear your disappointment and displeasure? Or, are you just all talk, all whining and complaining, but not really ready to do anything about it?
If you're willing to make a statement, make a comment and register with us at www.TMLFA.com or www.TMLForum.com. Together we will decide on who gets targeted and for how long. We CAN make a difference, but we need to do it together and we need to be committed to the campaign.
This site is only for those who are willing to do more than just bang out a few flippant remarks on a keyboard. We want fans that will take action.