Reports suggest that Ted Leonsis is a hardliner in the NHL Lockout (Japers Rink) which doesn’t have a double-bottom line that Leonsis used to talk about so often. The timing isn’t very good for his Washington Capitals after years of strong ticket sales and strong television ratings last season. Leonsis has all but said that he will create a new regional sports network for his teams, but if one of them isn’t playing or has lost much of its fanbase, that hurts his RSN ambitions. I don’t know when his current arrangement with Comcast SportsNet ends, but I can’t imagine it is as many as 5 years from now.
As Washingtonians have learned through the villainy of Peter Angelos, RSNs are were the money is in sports now and in the future. Do you think cable operators are in any hurry to bring up their rates to make room for just Washington Wizards games? He needs at least one of his teams to be healthy and the Capitals have the best chance of that for the next several years. Are the pennies on the dollar that the NHL owners are fighting to save (after years of growth and having cut player salaries by 24% years ago) worth the potential of killing the sport/brand?