Without any Grade A steak to offer, the Toronto Maple Leafs are serving their fans sizzle instead. With their star slipping among their fans, the team has officially declared it Blue & White Week in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Leafs, as you may well know, have had several dismal seasons of late, and have not seen playoff action since 2004 (to the chagrin of Toronto, and to the delight of the rest of the country).
So strong is the devotion of Leafs fans that the teams performance hasn’t affected its bottom line or attendance-yet. However, based on findings by the Toronto Star last month, it appears Leafs Nation is losing its patience.
Hence Blue And White week. Offering an up close and personal look, the Leafs have sent out the Leafs Nation Mobile Fan Zone-a traveling exhibit complete with a 30-foot replica of the Leafs’ dressing room.
Each stop features heavy doses of current stardust and homey nostalgia: meet and greets with current and retired Leafs, branded Leafs swag featuring everything from tattoos to wigs, and the unveiling of the Leafs “third” jersey: a replica of the sweaters worn by the team from 1942 to 1967. Coincidentally, those are the team’s glory years.
The problem with the campaign is that the Leafs are banking on fans actually wanting to get close and personal with the team. If fans really are getting tired of the team, is this going to entice them back?
The Leafs are in a sticky position where the only way to revive their image is to actually put together a winning product on the ice. Tactics like Blue & White Week are band-aid solutions at best, and emphasize the team’s weaknesses at worst.
Will this be enough to get the Maple Leafs through what’s looking to be yet another lacklustre year? Or will more need to be done to keep the team the fan favourite in the NHL?[ad]