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.

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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NHL Lockout: A monumental mistake for Ted Leonsis?

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?

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Capitals: 2012-2013 schedule, choose the next coach tool, Verizon Center signs

The Washington Capitals 2012-2013 schedule has been released: SCHEDULE | DOWNLOADABLE SCHEDULES | PRESS RELEASE

I’m not going to get into how it lays out for the Caps because I’m skeptical of the full season being played due to the expiring collective bargaining agreement. I’ll probably write about the schedule when we know it will be played.

The Caps still don’t have a head coach and probably won’t anytime soon. Japers Rink came up with an excellent “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style poll that identifies who the best coach is based on your feedback. I came up with Larry Robinson. Okay.

Ted Leonsis really, really, really, really wants approval for new video boards on the side of Verizon Center. I say, let him put them up, Chinatown Gallery Place has become the shiny lights district of the District, some TVs aren’t going to change the character much.

Also see: The D.C. Council hearing on Verizon Center signage – DC Sports Bog, The Post

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Ben’s Chili Bowl to FedEx Field, already at Nationals Park. Your move, Ted Leonsis…

Word came out today that venerable Washington D.C. landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl will have stands at FedEx Field (@dcsportsbog), the Landover, Md. home of the Washington Redskins, this season. Ben’s has been selling half-smokes at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, since it opened in 2008. That means that 2 of the 3 biggest stadia in the D.C. area will have Ben’s. The big outlier — Verizon Center, home of the Washington Capitals and Washing Wizards does not, though it is only a few stops down the Green Line from the actual Ben’s.

In my list of deliverables for Ted Leonsis, one of the things I suggested was:

4. 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, especially ones with a local connection. Yes, Ben’s Chili Bowl needs to be in Verizon Center…

Your move, Ted.

UPDATE: More details from DC Sports Bog (The Post): Ben’s Chili Bowl coming to FedEx Field. Apparently, the Redskins reached out to Ben’s when they heard that it was expanding. Another District location and one in Northern Virginia are being developed. Interesting — does Ben’s lose cache by having standalone stores other than U Street? You know, what, I don’t think I care, because a closer proximity to Ben’s half-smokes is pretty good news. I wouldn’t mind seeing stands at RFK Stadium for DC United games too.

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New Wizards logo and uniform review and other reactions

After a long build-up, the new Washington Wizards uniforms debuted yesterday. I had come up with a mock-up of my own that got a bit of attention and asked if the official Wizards uniforms were better than mine. So far, the real deal is beating my design which is probably a good thing.

Now, I’m going to review what the Wizards, the NBA and Adidas put together, but first a few words about the team nickname. Maybe I don’t have as good a memory as I think I do or my Vienna, Va. experience is too small a sample size, but I don’t remember much mourning when the Bullets name was replaced by Wizards. In fact, I don’t remember seeing anybody ever wearing Bullets merchandise when I was in school. I saw, Celtics, Lakers and Bulls, but never Bullets. People need to get over it, the name isn’t going to change. I don’t think we’re going to see a name change at all, seems pointless now and the new logos and uniforms are smartly pushing the Washington D.C. angle ahead of any nickname.

The main logo

Am I going to say that the Wizards nailed it when they picked a logo similar to the one I envisioned? Of course, I am! The new “dc” logo with the “d” turning into an arm that’s shooting or blocking a basketball is going to be iconic. Here is what I said about my similar design:

I was specifically inspired by the old Washington Bullets script with the two hands reaching up for a basketball. The Wizards have had a secondary logo with “dc” in it since they rebranded in 1997, but I wanted to make “dc” the primary logo because I think it has a lot of cachet. The overriding theme I’m going for is playing up Washington, D.C. as the team’s identity and downplaying the nickname “Wizards” that few people love or even like.

Basically, the designers had the same idea, but executed a little differently. They are going to sell a lot of hats with the logo, probably cutting into the Washington Nationals caps sales in the process. I’ll even buy one eventually.

Grade: A

The uniforms

The teal/black/copper jerseys color scheme never made sense for a DC team, whether they be the Wizards, Capitals or Mystics. Just moving to red, white and blue is an obvious improvement. The design they choose, which pays homage to the Bullets uniforms of the 1970s and 1980s, are an upgrade though not a perfect one. The same design logic that was used on the Caps redesign a few years back applies here. It is almost as if they said, “remember the 1970s jersey the team used to wear? Let’s revist it but make it MORE 70s.” The stripes make me think of the ABA which is funny because the team always played in the NBA. The font is distinct but not great or ugly, just kind of there. I really like that “Washington” is used on the road jersey, a rarity for basketball. The white stripe on the roadie is going to take some getting used to though, I’m not crazy about it. Bonus points for working the Washington Monument into the scripts though. I don’t think they are going to rename the team to the “Washington Monuments” (DC Sports Bog, The Post) though, despite the holding company that owns them being called Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

The numbers are stupid, but I don’t like any that aren’t some sort of block typeface.

Grade: B-

Other logos

There is now a Washington Monument logo which has some wondering if the team will be renamed the monuments someday. I think we’re stuck with the Wizards. The logo is okay, but kind of redundant.

The old Wizards logo lives on, barely, and should be handy come Christmas time. I expect to see very little of it until it simply goes away.

The official reproduction guideline sheet

Grade: B

Overall grade, B — a solid redesign/rebranding. Okay, now that you look good again, go and out an win.

OTHER VIEWS

Wizards new uniforms are beautiful – DC Sports Blog, The Post

Washington Wizards’ new uniforms and logo became a reality more quickly than for most NBA teamsThe Post

The Wizard is Dead, Long Live the WizardCityPaper

Wizards feel passion for fashionThe Wash. Times

Hanrahan: Wizards got it right CSN Washington


Rick Snider: Wizards’ new look is blast from the past
The Wash. Examiner

Is It Too Late for Unseld to Suit Up?UniWatch

Congratulations Ted, you just checked off another deliverable!

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Poll: Is the official Wizards uniform better than my mock up?

UPDATE 05.11.2011: New Wizards logo and uniform review and other reactions

The Washington Wizards unveiled their new, red, white and blue uniforms earlier this morning. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards (along with the Capitals, Mystics, Verizon Center and the local Ticketmaster franchise) elaborated on the look earlier this morning and why the name didn’t change. I’ve been saying they were not going to be renamed the Bullets for a long time.

Here is the view of them from washingtonwizards.com store which you should totally go to since I don’t have explicit permission to use them, though I’ll claim fair use (see no advertising on this site!):

Back on April, I posted what I think the new Wiz logo and uniforms should look like:

So, which is better, the official design or the one I mocked up?

Which Wizards logo/uniform is better, the official one or the one I mocked up?
Official
WFY
  
pollcode.com free polls

Oh and they had the same idea with the “dc” hand logo that I did:

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Is Ted Leonsis about to enter Act 2?

Ted Leonsis is very fond of his late friend Brandon Tartikoff’s description of television/American drama:

Act 1 – Young kid comes out of nowhere, shocks the experts and wins. A happy story.

Act 2 – Young kid as winner has a very public and humiliating fall. Humility and lessons learned.

Act 3 – Redemption and comeback. America loves a comeback.

Leonsis has sited this many times in his book and his blog. It was not too hard to see parallels between that narrative and the Washington Capitals under Leonsis ownership —

Act 1 – Internet wiz kid buys local team, acquires best player on the planet (Jaomir Jagr)

Act 2 – Best player on planet goes all emo and falls just like Internet wiz kid’s company

Act 3 – Internet whiz kid reinvents himself and team becomes good again behind the best player on the planet (Alex Ovechkin)

That is the way we hope it is playing out, but in his constant tweaking of The Post and other “legacy media” I wonder if we’ve had it all wrong. Is Leonsis actually closing out Act 1 and heading into Act 2? Between the Caps playoff flameouts, rising ticket prices and concerns about Ovechkin, the Leonsis legacy is going through a period of uncertainty.

Now, I’m a Leonsis guy, I think his accessible stewardship of the franchise is a wonderful model for others to follow. He’s easily the best team owner in this town and would be in most others. Going after The Post for being right is needlessly petty and as both Mr. Irrelevant and DC Sports Bog pointed out, coverage of his teams from The Post has never been more extensive or better.

You are not living up the your own standards, Ted.

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Business of Sports Q&A featuring Redskins, Nats, Caps and Wizards ownership wrap up – where is the video?

Tuesday, Washington Post Live presented Business of Sports – Q and A with panelists Ted Leonsis, owner the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics (Monumental Sports), Robert Tanenbaum, principal owner of the Washington Nationals and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, chairperson of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins and Will Chang, owner of D.C. United.

I was hoping and expecting that video of the entire event would be online, right now there are only clips. I have emailed Post PR and was told the video was being edited and I’d get a reply when its ready. Nothing yet, but if they ever do get it, I’ll post the video.The video has finally been posted

The Tanenbaums, particularly Robert, have not been the most active of the Nats principal owners (how can you have 5 principal owners anyway?) which I noted in the early post. Robert Tanenbaum noted that the Nats will win the World Series in the Year of the Bear. Obviously, I’m worried he’s right because:

THERE IS NO “YEAR OF THE BEAR”

Oh my, that built no confidence.

Meanwhile, DC Sports Bog has lots of coverage of course:

Snyder and Leonsis on the media D.C. sports owners rooting for each other Snyder: No to HBO’s Hard Knocks Snyder on FedEx Field

Also, Chang indicated that he’d like United to stay in D.C. and that he has a greater sense of urgency about finding a new home field for the soccer team. I have mentioned before that I would like to see DCU stick around here and not go somewhere like Baltimore. I have only been to one game so far, but I am open to going to more and who knows, maybe in a few years my son will be a big soccer fan.

I was hoping and expecting that video of the entire event would be online, right now there are only clips. I have emailed Post PR and was told the video was being edited and I’d get a reply when its ready. Nothing yet, but if they ever do get it, I’ll post the video.

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