It has happened only five times before, but Wednesday night will be like no other in Toronto sports history.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Leafs, Raptors and TFC, clearly understands the magnitude of what’s happening with their teams Wednesday night that it is hosting a party like no other.
MLSE has announced that Maple Leaf Square will host a giant viewing party outside Air Canada Centre that will cater to Leafs, Raptors and TFC fans.
While the Raps host the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of their first round NBA playoff series inside the ACC, fans who gather outside – in an area called Jurasic Park when the Raptors play – will be able to watch that game on the giant screen.
TV screens will also be set up at the other end of Maple Leaf Square (at Bremner Blvd and York Street) for fans who want to watch Game 7 of the Leafs-Boston Bruins first round NHL playoff series, as well as the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final between Toronto FC and Chivas Guadalajara.
“This is a big night for the Maple Leafs, Raptors and TFC; for our fans and for our city,” said Nick Eaves, Chief Venues and Operations Officer at MLSE. “This is a logistical challenge that we are thrilled to face and an experience that we are excited to deliver for our fans. As always, we are thankful to our partners at the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Service for their help delivering a safe and positive event for our fans to celebrate our teams and our city.”
The Jays, by the way, host the Boston Red Sox a few blocks away at Rogers Centre.
As exceptionally exciting as the Leafs-Raptors-TFC viewing party might be, it wasn’t a hard decision for MLSE to make.
The best option would have been a split-screen of the giant TV on the ACC, with one half showing the Raptors game and the other half showing the Leafs game.
No one can argue that the Maple Leafs playoff game isn’t more important than the Raptors playoff tilt. I mean, it’s Game 7 vs. Game 5. Case closed.
TFC fans, however, say their team is playing for a championship.
Politically, MLSE would have stepped on a virtual land mine if they decided to put the Leafs or TFC game on the giant screen while the Raptors played inside.
Instead, they’re trying to please everyone, which I guess I can understand.
No one will complain, however, if all three teams win.