Congratulations go out to Ted Leonsis for completing an agreement with the family of the late Abe Pollin to buy the Verizon Center and Washington Wizards. His brand of management will help the NBA franchise and his control of the building should help the NHL Washington Capitals.
UPDATED 06.19.2010 — I’ve added a new one — a Manute Bol & Muggsy Bogues statue at Verizon Center.
There are several things I would like to see from Leonsis:
1. Better ice conditions at Verizon Center
Turn down the thermostat for hockey games! The Capitals are a young, fast team and sloppy ice negates that advantage, not too mention is dangerous. Remember all of those groin injuries a few years back? Soft ice was likely a factor. There have not been as many complaints as of late though, but let’s never have them again.
2. Red, white and blue Wizards uniforms
First off, Leonsis is not changing the name to back to Bullets and he wasn’t ever going to because of the respect he had for Pollin. You may recall that Pollin no longer felt comfortable with the name after so many shootings, including Yhitzak Rabin.
The colors changing back to the original Washington Bullets red, white and blue is a forgone conclusion, the only question is when? Does Leonsis do it immediately or wait until the team is close to turning the corner like he did with the Capitals? I think the Wizards have bottomed out so much that they will do it as soon as possible, the team really needs a reboot. I have a prototype in mind too…
The Mystics should be red, white and blue too.
UPDATED 05.11.2011: Yup, new red, white and blue uniforms delivered.
3. Improved food stands in Verizon Center
The one thing that Nationals Park has over every other sports venue in D.C. is the selection of food vendors. Yes, Ben’s Chili Bowl needs to be there, but places like Hard Times Cafe ought to be as well and not just for the club seats.
4. NHL All-Star game and/or NHL Draft
When I interviewed Leonsis back in 2006, he said that they had not pushed for the NHL All-Star game because they “did not own the building.” Well, he owns it now, get those events in D.C.
5. Take down the Mystics attendance champions banners
Really, those things are embarrassing. There is probably nothing stopping him from doing it now since he owns the Mystics.
UPDATE: Leonsis announced he was having the attendance banners removed on May 7.
6. Appropriately colored seats
I’ve never understood why Verizon Center has purple seats since there has never been a purple team to play there. When the seats get redone, they ought to make them blue or red or both. Maybe put a Caps logo on one side, Wizards on another, Mystics and Georgetown on the ends. Signage around the arena should reflect the teams colors as well.
What deliverables do you have for Leonsis, besides game 7 tonight and championships sooner than later?
Also, here is Ted’s take of the deal on his Ted’s Take blog
Also, another Post profile and a Tracee Hamilton column on what awaits him with the Wizards.