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Ted Leonsis Takes On SportsTalk 980

I've previously noted how Ted Leonsis has come to the defense of his fellow put-upon local sports team owners, but this one is better, because now he's taking on Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, scourges to fans of all things non-Redskins or -Wizards. Hey, I listen to 980 as much as the next guy--provided the next guy is an unwashed Neanderthal who sincerely believes that Lenox Financial offers "the biggest no-brainer in the history of earth"--but it's certainly true that the fine fellows there would sooner discuss backup backup backup DE Justin Hickman (a discussion I actually heard two weeks ago) than anything hockey or soccer, aside from jokes about attendance and/or TV ratings. Leonsis goes further on his blog:

(Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)

As I was driving into the DC United game last week, to join 47,000 other fans, I was listening to the Sports Reporters on SportsTalk 980. That number -- 47,000 -- is way more people than listen to the Sports Reporters broadcast as an aside. I was disappointed to hear Steve and Andy basically questioning why people would go to a DC United game and why is it that the community would turn out in such droves to watch David Beckham play?...

Doesn't SportsTalk 980 want to expand its served universe? Doesn't it know how to cross promote between audiences?..

As a programmer and someone who has grown up in scaling media businesses, I don't get the fact that the sports leader here in DC would go out of its way to NOT embrace soccer or hockey or any other sport that delivers an audience.

With our soccer blog attracting nearly as many visitors as our Redskins blog, it would seem to be a valid question. On the other hand, if Standy Czablin did talk soccer, they would likely do so as outsiders with no particular insight or knowledge, and then soccernistas would complain and get all bothered (as they did with Wilbon last week), so it's probably just as well. Of course, if Czaban really wanted to go to war with Leonsis, he would respond on his blog, and the full-on blog battle would begin.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 13, 2007; 9:04 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United , Media  
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Next: Brandon Lloyd: Yeah and Nay


Lenox Financial makes me want to strangle somebody I want the home number of that jackass so that I may leave him voicemails of his own radio ad. Screw Lenox Financial!!!!

Posted by: goskins84 | August 13, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Anytime Leonsis gets upset with Abe Pollin he lashes out at Andy

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | August 13, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: littles | August 13, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I am a lukewarm Soccer fan, and it does upset met that whenever someone brings up Soccer, Czaban shoots the topic down. It has gotten ridiculous. The other day they had a segment on the the best celebrity teams of all-time. A caller mentioned a team back in the 70's from New York that had Pele. Anyways, Czaban scoffed at the caller. It wasn't until Larry Weisman, who was a beat reporter for that team, supported the caller that Czaban took the topic seriously. Screw him and 980, I'd rather listen to Triple-X than to them.

Posted by: Ted | August 13, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Ted to an extent. Either they should talk about soccer on 980 or they shouldn't. Make some kind of an effort to be informed, which Andy and Steve are clearly not willing to do, or just go ahead and leave the topic out all together.

To be fair, I don't think there is much difference any more between hockey coverage on that station than soccer coverage. Hockey might get a bit of cursory treatment, but instead of getting bashed for being boring an un-American like soccer, hockey will just get bashed for a bad t.v. contract and being irrelevant.

Posted by: tmc | August 13, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Andy is such a tool.. Steve is a conplete jackass... Not sure how people can even listen to these folks at 980.
This show will crash and burn soon, not even sure how they are still on the air!~

Posted by: Charles | August 13, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

You can throw baseball into the mix of sports ignored by 980. You listen to sports talk radio in any other city, and they're constantly discussing roster changes, the pitching rotation, prospects, position battles, etc.

In any other city, you'd have a debate about whether Fick or Batista should be filling in for an injured Dmitri Young, or what the starting outfield should be.

Instead, all you get is some vague discussion of their record, Barry Bonds, and the stadium. They spent 1/2 hour discussing the Yankees' roster the other day. We're a baseball town now, and our sports leader should embrace it.

For the record, I change the station whenever I hear a Lenox Financial add. HORRIBLE!

Posted by: Mike | August 13, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought that soccer fans veiws of Wilbon's time on ESPN2 and his column were generally positive. People were upset that he got the Dips highest average attendance wrong by about 11,000 and that he used Chingalia as a voice of reason when he is anything but that. For the most part though, he was well thought out and had a much better command of the subject than most of us thought. Kudos to Mike, we would love to hear more of his opinions about soccer.

Posted by: Kinney | August 13, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis is right on. Czaban and Pollin seem to represent an ever-shrinking group of ignorant radio personalities who trot out the same old tired jokes about hockey and soccer.

I don't understand their hostility towards both sports, especially soccer. Look at the popularity of soccer. It's a sport on the rise, for sure. The growth of the sport has huge potential. Czaban and Pollin are obviously misinformed; if they thought no one likes soccer, they only had to be at RFK last Thursday to know they're dead wrong.

And Leonsis is right. Insulting the sport and its fans is simply bad business. Why would these guys go out of their way to not cover the sport? They're ignoring a rather large, untapped market. It shows how ignorant those guys are. If anything, the could make money and attract listeners by covering a few more sports, but no, they'd rather act like jokers and continue covering mini-camp passing drills.

Vote with your radiodials, people. Just don't listen to the show.

Posted by: Blackaces | August 13, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Since Pollin and Czaban are the ones who told all hockey fans they should "Go to Hell" I'm not really surprised they've managed to upset another support with a large fanbase. They've quickly become dinosaurs, and unless 980 does something quick, that whole station won't be around too much longer. Ironcially enough, one of the two things that station has going for it is the radio broadcast of Capitals games. You'd think they'd try to be a little more supportive of "non-mainstream" sports.

Posted by: FS | August 13, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ted is right, both about the disdain that Pollin and Czaban often exhibit for sports they don't follow (and fans of those sports), like soccer, hockey, women's basketball and even baseball and the complete absurdity of that approach from a marketing perspective. And it goes beyond lack of coverage to active ridicule and sarcasm about those sports and their fans. Pollin is complete deadwood and should be dispensed with by WTEM. Czaban can be entertaining but he's gotten a bit too big for his britches and ought to be slapped down.

Posted by: Joe | August 13, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

This of course assumes (rather incorrectly) that Czaban is capable of forming coherent sentences.

I won't even get into the argument that DC is a "baseball-town", as it's already been proven to the contrary twice before.

Posted by: AlecW81 | August 13, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

D.C. is a baseball town. You're comparing DC, when it was a cowtown years ago, to the 5 million-person metropolis that it is today. Apples to oranges, my friend.

Posted by: Blackaces | August 13, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess that explains all those packed-houses at RFK for Nationals games... oh wait... they're drawing about level with the Cissel-Saxon American Legion team.

Posted by: AlecW81 | August 14, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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