When the Toronto Raptors won their first ever NBA championship this year the sporting world stood up and took notice.

Their victory over the mighty Golden State Warriors in a thrilling play-off series saw them become the first non-US based team to win the championship. Toronto, and Canada, came to a standstill. For musician Drake, all his Christmases came at once.

For those that know about the Raptors, though, and their owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the success wasn’t a huge surprise. The championship was the result of years of planning, calculation and building the most innovative sports and entertainment division in the world.

They count four of Toronto’s major sports franchises within their ownership, and they either own or operate the city’s main sports and entertainment venues. As well as the Raptors, MLSE look after Toronto FC, Canadian Football League side the Argonauts and the NHL’s Maple Leafs, whilst operating major venues including BMO Field, Scotiabank Arena and the Coca-Cola Coliseum.

“We really are a unique organisation,” says Chris Shewfelt, Vice President, Business Operations at Toronto FC and Toronto Argonaut. “You’ve got the power of all these different brands working together on a daily basis. The leveraging of different experiences, different efficiencies and different talents all together make us a unique organisation. You’ve got the power of almost 800 full time employees working together on all these different properties – there is so much work that is collaborative.”

Success breeds success, so when Toronto FC won its first ever MLS Cup in 2017 this was no accident. It was a long process of studying, understanding and realising the need for a soccer franchise in Canada’s sports capital. So in 2005, the club joined its older siblings from the NBA and NFL in a league of its own.

Shewfelt added: “When our teams win, we all win together. When Toronto FC win a championship it shines a light on all the different properties. When the Raptors go on this unbelievable run and win the NBA championship it shines a light on the city and the country as well as on MLSE. There’s a lot of sharing and it’s great for the entire city and the country.”

UCFB will be opening global study hubs at BMO Field, as well as New York’s Red Bull Arena, Atlanta’s brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, giving students and alumni truly unique opportunities within the global sports industry. Find out more.