Tag Archives: Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis is the owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and Verizon Center. The former AOL executive is the most fan accessible owner in sports.

It’s 196 days until the Capitals host the Winter Classic and no venue has been selected

Earlier this week Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis was arguing why D.C. should host the 2024 Summer Olympics1 (DC Sports Bog, The Post). I’m more interested in D.C. hosting the Winter Classic; the Caps are the scheduled home team. My preferred option is Nationals Park which is a mere mile from the U.S. Capitol. Seems obvious, but the NHL and Leonsis choose not to make the selection (or any other) concurrent with the 2015 Winter Classic announcement. I’ve said that was bad policy and now, barely 6 months out, the lack of a venue is mysterious, even more so given that Leonsis included Baltimore in a list of possibilities. That’d hardly be the kind of authentic D.C. experience he boasted about during the Wizards run through the NBA Playoffs earlier this spring.

So instead of worry about the Olympics and all that comes with it (debt) Leonsis needs to settle on a D.C. (or even Landover – FedEx Field) location for the Winter Classic.

In other Caps news, I like the Barry Trotz hire as head coach, but am wary of GM Brian MacLellan who was promoted from within. Hopefully, these two will stop looking for a free agent goalie in the hope it might find one that gets hot and instead address the need for a second line center and solid defensemen.

1Which coincidentally would be held 3 years before the agreement with the District on the Verizon Center would expire…

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Leonsis can’t commit to 2015 Winter Classic being in D.C.

A few weeks ago, after the Washington Capitals were awarded the 2015 Winter Classic that “…if Leonsis is true to his double bottom line ethos he will publicly eliminate the possibility of a Baltimore Winter Classic for his WASHINGTON CAPITALS, even before a site is selected. The NHL needs to go along with this as well.”

With the Caps owner Ted Leonsis on WTOP this morning, I tweeted a question:

Leonsis noted he doesn’t have the final say, but he can influence it. He also mentioned Nationals Park and Downtown DC by name:

I think that’s a fair question and I wish I could commit. There are two teams that play in it, we would be the host city, and I have some input but the league makes the decisions. I certainly would love to have the game played in D.C., Nats park would be a great venue. but the league will canvass, reach out, look at all the options and do the research — there’s a lot that goes into this

Here is his full response to my question.

I’m annoyed that this was announced before a venue was selected. Here’s my suggestion for Leonsis and influence — make sure it is at Nationals Park, RFK Stadium or FedEx Field or tell the NHL you aren’t interested.

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Will NHL, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis put the 2015 Winter Classic in Washington, D.C.?

winter-classic-logo-weagleOne of the frequent phrases that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis used in his book The Business of Happiness and on his blog was “double bottom line.” He described it to Inc. as “be successful from a business standpoint but also be community-minded.”

Last year, I suggested that lockouts, like the one that Leonsis was apparently a hardliner on, don’t have a double bottom line. After it was over, Leonsis did not elaborate much on his role, other than he was sorry that he was not part of an earlier solution.

With the announcement that the Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, Leonsis’ commitment to the double bottom line will once again be evaluated. While the Caps are hosting it, a venue has not been identified which is unusual compared to other Winter Classics. Apparently, Nationals Park, RFK Stadium and FedEx Field are under consideration. Why this was not decided as prior to the announcement is unusual and perhaps the skeptic in me sees this as a way by the NHL and Leonsis to have sites competing against each other to give the Winter Classic a sweetheart deal. Shrewd business sense, but it does not strike me as a “double bottom line” approach.

winter-classic-logo-curly-wNationals Park has the advantage of being the newest facility available with the most luxury suites and greatest merchandising and food availability. Depending on the vantage point, having a view of the Capitol dome. That’s certainly an impressive visual. Additionally, one of the minority owners of Monument Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, is Mark Lerner, whose family owns the Nats. Seemingly, that relationship would help make a Winter Classic at Nationals Park more likely, though the District certainly has a role as it is the owner of the ballpark.

RFK Stadium
offers a historic venue, primarily as the home of the Washington Redskins, but also the Washington Nationals and Senators and soccer at the MLS (DC United) and international level — World Cup 1994 was played there. The bouncing stands would also contribute to nostalgia and atmosphere. There are thousands of parking spaces and a nearby Metro station. The Capitol and the Washington Monument are visible from west side of the stadium, but the actual arena is completely enclosed. Another significant downside is the stadium is over 50 years and showing every one of those years.

A third choice, FedEx Field, is the largest venue in the area, boasting over 80,000 seats most of which would be aligned decently for a hockey rink, albeit far away. There is plenty of parking and a Metro station within a mile. FedEx Field is also just inside the Beltway from the Capitals original venue, the Capital Centre, but that also means it isn’t in Washington, but Landover, Md.

One troubling report is that Leonsis is also considering venues in the city of Baltimore, some 35 miles away from the District and certainly not WASHINGTON, D.C. or even near it. Nationals Park and RFK Stadium are of course, in D.C. while FedEx Field is visible from D.C. and vice versa. Simply put, if Leonsis is true to his double bottom line ethos he will publicly eliminate the possibility of a Baltimore Winter Classic for his WASHINGTON CAPITALS, even before a site is selected. The NHL needs to go along with this as well.

On a lighter note, I mocked up a couple of graphics of what I’d like to see the Winter Classic look like. Both are based on the previous Caps logo, but with red, white and blue colors. The only real difference is the choice of “W” I used in each — the Caps’ “Weagle” in one and the Nats “curly W” in the other. I think it’s safe to assume that neither is likely, especially the latter, even if the Winter Classic is at my #1 choice, Nationals Park.

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Ted Leonsis got the Game 7 he deserved; Rangers crush Capitals 5-0

The Washington Capitals season came to an abrupt halt (Japers Rink) in game 7 of the 1st round of the playoffs as they were dominated by the New York Rangers, 5-0. It was a brutal end to a strange season that started late due to a lock-out that team owner Ted Leonsis was reportedly hard-liner on. The Caps recovery from a 2-10-1 start to win the final Southeast Division crown was impressive, but they led yet another game 7 egg at Verizon Center. Caps fans deserve better, but after presiding over two NHL lockouts in eight years and a season removed from a NBA lockout (Leonsis also owns the Washington Wizards), I think Teddy Lockout could use some humbling.

Next season will be different, the Southeast division heads to the dust-bin of history. The Caps will return to what will hopefully be called Patrick Division with Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and the Rangers. No more cheap division titles moving forward. I think the franchise will benefit from the new surroundings, though it may not be right away.

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