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Maple Leaf’s Leiweke Says NFL Team for Toronto ‘Intriguing’ Idea

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July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Tim Leiweke, chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., said the Toronto-based sports-team owner plans to be involved in any effort to bring a National Football League team to Canada.

“We’d go out of our way to make it work here,” Leiweke said in an interview today with Bloomberg TV’s Erik Schatzker. “The support the NFL has in Canada is fantastic. If there is an opportunity to have a team that is like the Jays, that is Canada’s team, that is very intriguing.”

NFL ownership rules prevent corporations such as MLSE from owning teams, Leiweke said from Toronto.

“There is a lot of work to do and it has to be led by Roger Goodell and the NFL,” Leiweke said, referring to the league’s commissioner.

BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., the two largest telecommunications companies in Canada, hold a controlling stake in MLSE, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club, Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, Toronto FC soccer club, as well as the Air Canada Centre arena and other real estate properties.

The Toronto Blue Jays, the only Major League Baseball club in Canada, is separately owned by Rogers.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net; Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net