Monday, April 14, 2008


It's becoming abundantly clear that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Cubs are pretty much the same franchise: The Chironto Maple Lubs.

Both are historic franchise with inexplicably loyal fans who get what they deserve since they seem unwilling to seek out alternatives. (Become a White Sox fan? Demand a second NHL team in Southern Ontario? Never!)

The Cubs suffered no lasting damage a few years ago after being caught red-handed running a scalping operation that was basically a way for the franchise to charge $1,000 for a ticket without charging $1,000 for a ticket, if you get the drift. It was greasy;f Greg Couch of the rival Sun-Times did like a 15-part series on the Cubs using their money to set up a stand-alone ticket brokering firm, and then pretending it was an independent contracter.

The Cubs, though, managed to get a favourable court ruling, plus the team and the main news source in town had the same owner (Tribune Co.), so that helped keep it quieter than it should have been.

The same thing is happening with the Leafs' ticket-scalping scandal. Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star has flipped over one rock after another. The latest is that one staffer even demanded a cash bribe. Bell GlobeMedia's properties, including the very influential Globe & Mail and TSN, seem to be ignoring the MLSE scandal, perhaps since it has a 15% ownership stake. (Granted, TorStar owns 20% and they're going after it full throttle; then again, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would not have broken Watergate without the help of some P.O.'d Republicans.)

It's not like any of this is revelatory; it's not as if this didn't happen in the Harold Ballard era. Surely other major pro sports teams engage in dodgy dealings with their tickets. It's just important to keep in mind that the Leafs have more money than God and aren't really interested in anything else.

This shouldn't make anyone less of a Leafs fan. Consistency would also mean withholding support for the Raptors and TFC.

Fan says he was bilked in ticket sales scam; Buyer of season seats says MLSE rep asked for $5,000 extra in cash (Rick Westhead, Toronto Star)
Fans should tell Cubs to take a hike; Renovation-funding tax is new terminology for higher ticket prices (Greg Couch, Chicago Sun-Times, March 13, 2008)

1 comment:

Steve said...

One thing that caught me off-guard during my first visit to Wrigley: I couldn't find a single scalper on the street, but the area around the park is littered with "licensed" ticket brokers. I couldn't see any way the Cubs weren't getting some sort of kickback from that deal. Didn't stop us from paying $110 for bleachers, mind.