Toronto Maple Leafs Should Add a Global Ambassador

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 24: Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber take in the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Scotiabank Arena on November 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 24: Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber take in the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Scotiabank Arena on November 24, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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To help propel the franchise’s growth into the next generation of fans, the Toronto Maple Leafs should really look into hiring a global ambassador.

The offseason continues to chug along towards the always anticipated start to the free agency frenzy with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the mix to make some noise. Unlike last year, their major transactions will likely be internal, highlighted by the Mitch Marner saga that appears to have no end in sight.

But if there’s one thing the Leafs can do to send shockwaves across the NHL, it doesn’t have to come from a roster signing, trade, or even a shift in executive roles within the team. The Leafs could take a page out of their roommate’s book and consider hiring a global ambassador.

Does it have to transpire this summer? Not really, largely because this isn’t a pressing issue that needs to be addressed right this instance. However, just as the Toronto Raptors did in hiring Drake as the team’s global ambassador back in September 2013, the Leafs could kick start their efforts to help cater to the next generation of fans with a hire that may get bring more excited about the team.

Should the Leafs decide that this summer is the right time to make such a hire, there’s no Canadian celebrity that could fit this role better than Justin Bieber.

The Leafs are beginning the process of catering and engaging with the youth demographic of fans, primarily with the implementation of the Next-Gen Game. First debuting in December 2017, the afternoon matinee has quickly become a fan staple with the team set to host its third one this coming season.

Additionally, it’s also part of an attempt to, at least for one day, bring in a fresh new set of faces to Scotiabank Arena and do away with the reputation of the Leafs being corporate. With the demographics in this city and country rapidly changing, it’s commendable of the team’s efforts to cater to the youth.

But that’s simply not enough, such a transition to a new generation of fans requires more than just a single afternoon game on the schedule each year. In order for the youth to gravitate towards something, it usually helps to have some type of influencer to make said thing seem cool and hip without going off as a corporate cash-grab.

No team in Toronto does this better than the Raptors with their global ambassador in Drake, the popular rapper based in the city the team plays in. Since being hired, Drake has helped shape the team culture and lore surrounding the team with his influence on the jerseys and logo, as well as his on-court antics.

Whether or not you are on board with his antics, especially during the 2019 Championship run, the fact of the matter is that people were paying attention to the Raptors in part because of Drake. He did not at all impact the results on the court, but the fact he has typically been a focal point at many Raptors games went a long way in helping the team establish itself among the youth.

It’s an avenue the Leafs should consider exploring because in this social media age, having a voice that can be reached by millions can go a long way in ensuring the team can continue to thrive into the next generation and beyond.

This is where Justin Bieber comes into play and, like Drake, he is a popular musician from Ontario that has a known love for the local sports team.

What separates the two artists is their respective follow base on social platforms like Instagram. While Drake has a sizable following at roughly 58 million followers, Bieber’s following is over double that with about 114 million followers. Because of this, Bieber has a much wider reach which can expand far beyond the local market and across the globe.

Why is this so significant? Simply put, Bieber’s reach will be huge and his influence could help bridge the gap between the established male-oriented fan base and the minorities (primarily women). It goes without saying that his presence at games frequently would do a lot of good to the Leafs brand image to the youth.

And when Bieber has attended games in the past, it is a big deal regardless of whether you like his antics or not. During this year’s playoffs alone, he would frequently post the Leafs logo on his page praying for good fortune to be placed upon the team. He was even in Boston for Game 7 and was visibly upset that his beloved team was once again bounced out of the first round by the Bruins.

Clearly, this is a guy who cares about the team and has been in attendance as often as he could, especially in recent years. It is true though that, like Drake, Bieber has been seen wearing other teams colours in the past. If he were given the role as a global ambassador of the Leafs, however, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggests he will remain loyal to the Blue and White as long as he’s with the team.

As for where he would be seated, that’s where the team and Bieber can get creative with putting him (and whoever he would be with) in a strategic location. It could be in a box seat close enough to the action or, assuming they’re available, the seats in between the Leafs and opposing team’s bench.

This move wouldn’t be for the established fan base because there’s a good chance not everyone would be on board if this were to become a thing. It’s simply an avenue to help propel the franchise into the future and to, at the very least, help diversify a fanbase that will soon need it badly.

Regardless of who you think should take this position or if it even needs to be filled in the first place, the team needs to prepare for the future and ensure the team culture remains open and welcome for all. Adding someone like Justin Bieber as a global ambassador could go a long way in ensuring this is so.

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We want to hear from you! Assuming this becomes a reality, do you think Justin Bieber would be a good candidate as the Leafs global ambassador? If not, who do you think should be given the role instead?