Leonsis on the Redskins
One more thing I wanted to highlight from the interview Ted Leonsis did with Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington Thursday afternoon. For a lot of reasons, just about every sentient sports fan in the D.C. area has explicitly compared Leonsis with Daniel Snyder in recent months, and a cynic might suggest that Leonsis hasn't done anything to avoid those comparisons.
But I'm not sure he's ever been asked about Snyder and the Redskins as explicitly as Dukes did this week.
"I'm not telling you anything you don't know, you are Luke Skywalker to Dan Snyder's Emperor," Dukes began. "Everybody in this town looks at it that way, and I don't know if that's a fair characterization or not. But what is it like working under those conditions, where one of the franchises that is very beloved is in the state that it's in while you all are thriving, and your business practices could not be any more different. It's cloak and dagger vs complete transparency with your fan base, which everyone lauds you for. What is it like working in a market where that situation is going on?"
Well, when you put it that way....
"The NFL is the 800-pound gorilla, and it's the greatest business of sport out there," Leonsis said. "And the Redskins have the greatest franchise, maybe in sports. And so I honestly never spend five minutes thinking about us versus the Redskins....
"I obsess about the Flyers or the Penguins, right, because you think you're gonna have to meet them in the playoffs. And so my belief--and honestly, sincerely, my personality--I firmly believe that if every team--the Wizards, the Redskins, the Nationals--were all competing for championships, that would be the best thing that ever happened for the Capitals, and vice versa. Because a rising tide raises all boats. This isn't a zero-sum game. And while we're getting some sponsors and some season ticket holders that, with the Redskins, are coming to the Caps, and a lot of Caps season-ticket holders are Redskins season-ticket holders, it's not a zero-sum game.
"And I love the Redskins as a fan. You know, I'm a Nats season-ticket holder, and Mark Lerner's one of my close friends. I own 44 percent of the Wizards with my partners. And I don't wish anyone bad faith, bad karma. I want everyone to be successful, because I actually think that'll make us successful. In business you don't want to be the only one in a category that's winning. Then you become a monopoly. It's great to have one, two, three four guys all doing great.
"So I honestly don't spend a lot of time, I don't model ourselves against them or whatever. We're doing what comes true and authentic to us, and our personality, our style, our operating philosophy is unique to us, right? And it comes out of who owns the team, who runs the team, and that we happen to be winning now.
"I think we have a good team and will be a good team for a long time. But until we win the Stanley Cup, we're gonna be wannabees. We'll be terrific and we'll move up in the pantheon, but the Redskins have won Super Bowls. And that's why the Redskins are a great franchise. They have that tradition and history, and you just go across sports: When you win a championships, you totally dip into the consciousness of the city. And we just had a nice run, and it was fantastic. We're first in the NHL, and we're first in the East, but none of that will matter when the playoffs start."
Earlier in the interview, 106.7 The Fan's rival sports talker came up in discussion, and Leonsis offered a pretty measured view of their programming choices.
"I think 980 doesn't cover us as much as you guys do mostly because they're owned by the Redskins," he said. "I mean, we have to be honest with that. And I understand that. If I owned a radio station, I'm not so sure I wouldn't want most of the coverage to be about the Capitals."
(In one final bit of Friday Skins news, if you haven't heard, City Paper is reporting that one of the investment groups that's involved in Six Flags is asking for Daniel Snyder and his management team to be removed while the company's bankruptcy case is being settled.
"Six Flags is clearly and obviously being used and abused by Mr. Snyder and Red Zone to further the economics of Mr. Snyder, certain members of the [Six Flags] board of directors and management, Johnny Rockets, Dick Clark Productions and Red Zone entities at the expense of all Six Flags stakeholders," the CEO of the investment group told Dave McKenna.)
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