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The Wizards have the country's worst fan relations?


(By Marvin Joseph - TWP)

UPDATE: Ted Leonsis has already responded to this blog item, writing on Ted's Take:

The results of this poll are quite humbling to us all. It establishes a baseline of where we must improve. We "get it." We hear you all. We have all internalized that the franchise needs to do a better job in all aspects of fan relations, and we shall.

I mentioned last week that ESPN had published its latest batch of Ultimate Team Rankings, comparing the 122 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL franchises on 73 categories, 4,019 sub-categories, 12 scents and 12. 5 odors. (That's an exaggeration, but not by much.)

While no Washington team finished first in any category that I noticed, we did have a couple last-place finisher! The Washington Wizards were ranked 122nd out of 122 pro teams in fan relations, directly behind the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. They also ranked 122nd in player likability. I thought people loved Quinton Ross, back in his glory years, before he got traded.

That's all a remarkable achievement, and one that's likely never to be repeated. The sub-categories from the fan relations bit include players acting professionally, players and owners showing appreciation to fans, players being accessible to fans and franchises providing avenues for team feedback. The Wizards were 116th in that last category, which is likely to change now that Ted Leonsis is fielding daily e-mails from fans. And they were 122nd in the matter of players acting professionally, which obviously refers to the Gilbert Arenas situation, which I'm guessing might have been one-of-a-kind. .

Still, the unique plight of Wizards fans has often been overlooked nationally, so many thanks to ESPN for bringing word to the masses. Ted Leonsis blogged about the results in general (with the Wizards finishing 120nd), saying this:

We have work to do. No rest for the weary. We hear you all on this poll.

A few more notes on the ESPN rankings:

D.C. is second-worst

Of the 13 cities with at least one team in all four profiled leagues, Washington's average ranking of 82.5 was second-worst, ahead only of New York's 84.8. Phoenix ranked first with an average of 27.5, followed by Denver at 45.3. Yet more objective proof that these have been the worst of times.

Redskins games aren't fun

While the Redskins didn't finish last in any category, they were certainly mining the depths in several game-day experience and fan satisfaction questions. The Skins were 107th (out of the same 122) in "honest ownership," 117th in "affordable tickets," 118th in "affordable parking," 118th in "affordable concessions," 112th in "fan promotions," 118th in "fan-friendly environment" and 105th in "avenues for fan feedback."

That's an awful lot of bad grades. Wonder if anyone will mirror Leonsis's pledge to do better?

The Nats are courting the military fan

This was new to me; it came from the blurb for the Nationals, who managed to finish second in this poll among D.C.'s teams:

The Nats have discovered that a large number of their "fans" are displaced military personnel or government workers -- including President Obama, who showed up to watch a Strasburg start wearing a White Sox cap. "We feel like our team can represent American pride for those who never stay in one place long enough to really feel connected to a team," Nationals VP Lara Potter says. "We want to be their team." The best part of any Nationals game comes at the end of the third inning, when soldiers from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital, who are given prime seats in the Presidents Club, are recognized to a long and often emotional ovation.

Obviously the saluting of the military personnel isn't new to me, but I didn't know the Nats had designs on these transient military and government staffers. Interesting concept.

Caps win

The Caps are in a totally different plane from the rest of the D.C. teams in this study. Also, they ranked sixth both in overall ownership, and in ownership honesty.

Wizards loyalty

As the blog Truth About It pointed out, the Wizards had the second-smallest intensity of fan commitment ranking. These numbers weren't provided for every team, but on a scale of 1 to 5 on the intensity of fan commitment, the Wizards scored just a 2.38, behind only the Philadelphia 76ers. Poor Eddie Jordan. The Baltimore Orioles had the lowest intensity of commitment in MLB, which is another remarkable fall from grace.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 6, 2010; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
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Comments

The Nats thing is okay, but they need to stop playing that F___ing country music with the salute to the troops, I loth seeing something as important as the military turned into a marketing tool every game. Also burn that american flag logo off the blue jersey.

There is a classy way to be patriotic and an unclassy way. The Nationals have been falling on the unclassy of late, and it wreaks of poorly stylized nationalism.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

alex35332

Please stop being a whiney troll. Its bloggers like you that make the internet unbearable. Always whining and negative. Why cant you just say I like the Nats, Caps or whatever team. All bloggers do on these threads is complain and put other down. Is that what you think the blog was made for? Your b!tching and moaning about something as trivial as music played at a game. How about thanking god for waking you up to go to a game? You could be blind or deaf. Stop complaining.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 6, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

ged0386

Please stop being a whiney troll. It's bloggers like you that make the internet unbearable. Always whining and negative. Why cant you just say I disagree with alex35332 or whatever poster. All bloggers do on these threads is complain and put other down. Is that what you think the blog was made for? Your b!tching and moaning about something as trivial as what alex35332 wrote. How about thanking god for waking you up to surf the web? You could be blind or deaf or dumb. Stop complaining.

I mean, dude, that's like the pot going on a ridiculous diatribe about how black the kettle is. To each their own, you know.

Posted by: Urnesto | July 6, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow ged0386, that is seriously one of the dumbest posts I have had the misfortune of reading on a WaPo sports blog. Also Alex's expressing an opinion is actually not in any relation to what an internet troll is...

Posted by: chrislarry | July 6, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there will be no statement emanating from Ashburn about trying to do better. Skins games are a complete ripoff, and let's face it: they don't have to do promotions. The tickets are so expensive that it's almost double jeopardy to then be hit up with parking too. It cracks me up to see people pounding $8 beers and then lining up like lemmings in front of the conveniently placed ATMs after they've drank their way through their on hand cash. Snyder has zero incentive to do anything about prices, because people are going to pay them. As far as honest ownership goes, Leonsis gets an A in that category. It seems like the Nats are trying, and I'm glad they are trying to reach out to the military. They should do like the Padres and have more military aimed promotions and maybe even an alternate uniform that honors the military. The Skins won't change the way they do business under current ownership. The sea change in the football side of things will only last if they are winning. A couple more years of mediocrity, and the Jerry Jones wannabe Snyder will go back to business as usual. I don't trust him and never will.

Posted by: orangeskin | July 6, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Urnesto

Sometimes you have to get in the mud to clean it up. That said, point taken. Dude..

Posted by: ged0386 | July 6, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Note the ranking of the Ravens compared to the Skins, especially in the ownership category. Interesting, no?

Posted by: M__N | July 6, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Not to pile on a dead mans grave but.....Why was uncle Abe Pollin so lionized for being a great ownwer of one of the worst franchises in THE HISTORY of pro sports?? I remember the glory days of the 70's but c'mon. 30 years of suck. The NBA loved him because he brought stability and easy wins against him. I really look forward to the Leonsis era and I hope he gets around to undoing the stupid name change and culture that was fostered and tolerated for decades. Rant.

Posted by: rdondero123 | July 6, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Orangeskin, that's why I gave up my season tickets. I'm making him richer and he doesn't care about the blue-collar, REAL fans. He cares more about the bottom line than winning and he can hide behind the "Redskins" brand, knowing that people will buy, no matter what. Dan Snyder has destroyed my football team and what it used to be about.

Posted by: stwasm | July 6, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay been going over the data,

Ted Leonsis ranks 6th as Caps owner, and 90th as zards owner, thats odd.

According to them the Redskins are more on track to win a title than the caps.

They like the smell of the baltimore harbor at games.
Best thing the Caps have is their owner, same for the Ravens and wizards.

Best thing for the nat's is their prices.

O's have a good stadium.
Redskins a good coach.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

alex35322
loathe.
reeks.
I know spell check can only do so much but, c'mon, you're trying to sound intelligent

Posted by: Bengt-Ake | July 6, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Its my weakness, always has been always will be. I blame my kindergarden teacher forcing me to sit in the back of the class.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

ged0386 -- Thanks for being cool. Peace.

Posted by: Urnesto | July 6, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't give a WHAT about an ESPN poll. I'm a diehard Wiz fan regardless! Poll schmoll...getouttahea!!

Posted by: cbmuzik | July 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

how does an ownership group that threatened to move in the last 5 years, and went so far as to fly out to other cities to inspect arenas finish 3rd in "loyalty and honesty"?

Posted by: FlyersSuck | July 6, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Ted Leonsis ranks 6th as Caps owner, and 90th as zards owner, thats odd.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 1:40 PM

I'm sure the poll reflects data from months before Leonsis officially became the Wizards owner.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 6, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Dan. This was easy:

"We feel like our team can represent American pride for those who never stay in one place long enough to really feel connected to a team," Nationals VP Lara Potter says.

MEANS

"We don't care about selling out Opening Day to Philly fan if it means being a penny wise, pound foolish organization."

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | July 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Wizards being 'First Among the Worst' on fan relations. Ever since Webber, Howard, etc. skipped out on season ticket holder autograph day and were not punished, things have continued to tank. They had a bump of good will when they had our two home boys from UMD playing for them, then they traded them.

The fan experience at FedEx field is dreadful. The upper deck is too far away and too far back to see the game and you cannot hear the fight song after the team scores. Dreadful.

Posted by: malcomj | July 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins have promotions? Really? What do they give away? Air?

Posted by: DCull | July 6, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats thing is okay, but they need to stop playing that F___ing country music with the salute to the troops, I loth seeing something as important as the military turned into a marketing tool every game."

I completely agree with Alex. That country song they play during the salute is the most predictable, crass and cliche'd music possible to select for the occasion. Not everyone in the military is a country bumpkin hillbilly. If anything, they should be playing America the Beautiful. But since corporate PR departments (especially ones in pro sports) are contemptibly lame and predictable when it comes to venue music in stadiums, it really should surprise no one.

It's like the Nats picked the song because even if you are a knuckle-dragging mongoloid, you can figure out the connection between the song and the salute.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | July 6, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

America the Beautiful would be a good choice, either the ray charles or the Neil Young version. Both are excellent. But I would actually not mind silence, just the roar of the crowed, I mean its amazing enough with out the piped in noise.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Im a loyal wizards/bullets fan through the wes unseld horrible trade days .....its hard for alot of the occasional fans to stay loyal when this franchise has only put below average teams together since the early 80's. When we did have good pieces we traded them away and now we have wall but we still have EG and arenas....nothinw ill change until we completely start from scratch under leonsis meaning fire EG and let go of arenas.

Posted by: soefinmad | July 6, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins have promotions? Really? What do they give away? Air?

Posted by: DCull | July 6, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

They give away former player jerseys.

This year at the 3rd home game, the team will be giving out 10,000 Jason Campbell jerseys and 5,000 Anthony Montgomery Jerseys and 12 Rock Cartwright jerseys to the first 15,012 fans. Last year it was all Jason Taylor jerseys.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I am sure Dan Snyder is all over these polls and is anxious to get things turned around! However, he would have to have a heart to want to do that!

In Ted we trust!

Posted by: Toochilled | July 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The Boulez has always been seen as cheap

Even after Ol' Abe built the 'phone booth' and revitalized 7th St., he still couldn't shake that image.

Steady Teddy has no such image problems so he'll do as has been done with the Caps to create that buzz and that synergy. Bruce Allen has started that mending trend with this past weekend's 'welcome back home' celebration for former Skins players which still will not endear the Danny to fans because it didn't come from him. He alienated former Skins players and employees and he will always be reviled PERSONALLY for it. Skins fans will cheer the team and boo Snyder and that will never change.

Ted is cut from a different cloth; he's silk while the Danny is on a roll next to the toilet

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 6, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If the Wizards were dead last in fan relations, why hasn't Ted cleaned house? Either he mistakenly believes a pep talk or stern memo will shape these terrible employees into winners, or he believes that Abe Pollin was so terrible that simply Ted replacing Abe will cause the organization to do a complete 180.

While I do think Abe was part of the problem, I have a hard time believing he was 100% of the problem. Ted needs to clean house.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | July 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Just wait until ole ted has a winner in washington. He will turn the screws to his fans then. Just like in 1998 when his team lucked out and played for the cup. He made anyone who wanted a ticket to the finals, a ticket that was marked up 600%, buy a ten game plan for the next year just to have the right to buy that marked up ticket. Living in NC, I complained to the ticket office manager that i had no use for ten games the next year and his response was sad but honest. He said "that the caps were striking while the fire was hot", maximizing income while they can. I complained to "fan friendly" Ted numerous times over the years about this practice and have yet to hear back from the most "fan-friendly" owner in sports . In other words . if you want to praise him and kiss his arse, you might get a response from him. A blow-hard, fat fake is all he is...just wait until the Wiz or cap are in a position to win it all again, he will turn the screws on all of you and "maximize" his income then too..... YOU ARE A FAKE TED !

Posted by: klangley69 | July 6, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Of the 4 teams the best stadium IMO is the NATs, just behind are the Wiz and Caps, the worst by far is Fedex. I can't stress enough how poor the gameday experience is there. I've been to multiple venues across the country both college and professional I can say hands down Fedex is at the bottom IMHO.

Ownership, best would go to the Caps, Wiz and Nats get an incomplete, and the Redskins are by the worst. We went from a class act in Jack Kent Cooke to Dan Snyder.

Ticket prices, best Nats, Caps, Wiz can be affordable most of the time. Redskins are expensive and again the venue doesn't measure up. You pay a lot and then spend more time and money on parking, then walking from a satellite parking lot or shuttle stop, I mean its less complicated taking public transit from DC to NYC and with Megabus cheaper.

I'd say the ESPN polls are dead on when it come to the Redskins.

Posted by: Eman8 | July 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Of the 4 teams the best stadium IMO is the NATs, just behind are the Wiz and Caps, the worst by far is Fedex. I can't stress enough how poor the gameday experience is there. I've been to multiple venues across the country both college and professional I can say hands down Fedex is at the bottom IMHO.

Ownership, best would go to the Caps, Wiz and Nats get an incomplete, and the Redskins are by the worst. We went from a class act in Jack Kent Cooke to Dan Snyder.

Ticket prices, best Nats, Caps, Wiz can be affordable most of the time. Redskins are expensive and again the venue doesn't measure up. You pay a lot and then spend more time and money on parking, then walking from a satellite parking lot or shuttle stop, I mean its less complicated taking public transit from DC to NYC and with Megabus cheaper.

I'd say the ESPN polls are dead on when it come to the Redskins.

Posted by: Eman8 | July 6, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I think at lot of the distrust in the Wizards managemetn is aimed at the front office, particularly Ernie Grunfeld for the shameful way he dealt with firing Eddie Jordan and never shouldering the blame for any of the team's shortcomings. Any GM/President who doesn't know the things going on in their own locker room and team plane is out of touch. His continued mismanagement of the team's draft prospects, trades, and FA's will be his undoing. Unlike GMGM of the Caps, EG will be mercifully gone after this season.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 6, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The Boulez has always been seen as cheap

Even after Ol' Abe built the 'phone booth' and revitalized 7th St., he still couldn't shake that image.

Steady Teddy has no such image problems so he'll do as has been done with the Caps to create that buzz and that synergy. Bruce Allen has started that mending trend with this past weekend's 'welcome back home' celebration for former Skins players which still will not endear the Danny to fans because it didn't come from him. He alienated former Skins players and employees and he will always be reviled PERSONALLY for it. Skins fans will cheer the team and boo Snyder and that will never change.

Ted is cut from a different cloth; he's silk while the Danny is on a roll next to the toilet

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 6, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As a lifelong O's fan and a 25 year Bullets fan I find it incomprehensible that the Wiz finish behind the O's in any category. Angelos has not only singlehandedly ruined a great franchise but he's the main reason baseball is in DC. If he was still running a viable and productive franchise MLB would never have put another team in his territory. Not to mention the O's banning reporters from the ballpark for criticizing or banning employees from talking to radio or TV stations that aren't MASN or 105.7. This in spite of the fact that they NEED to market the team since only 8,000 or so show up most weeknights. For the Wiz to even be mentioned with them let alone ranked below them is a joke.

Posted by: bukaki23 | July 6, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Klangley:

Ted didn't own the Caps in 1998, Abe stil owned the team back then. And I bought tickets to game 3 of the 98 finals (as did friends of mine) and didn't have to buy a ten-game plan for the next year, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Posted by: TheFingerman | July 6, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Just shows how bad an owner Pollin was. Leonsis is more fan friendly, but he is also one of the biggest spin artists around. He'll tell you everything is looking up when things are crashing down all around. Advice to Wiz fans: take what Ted says and posts with a huge grain of salt..............

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 6, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

No owner is ever going to be 100% honest. Sometimes being honest with the fans hurts your position at the bargaining table, and it's either do that or deal with a bunch of pissed off idiots emailing you with personal abuse. Sometimes the only worse policy than 100% honesty is actually listening to the fans and making business decisions based on what the fans want. Yeah, not doing so means that certain individuals get a bug up their ***, but life's tough that way.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 6, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't surprise me that the Wizards were near the bottom, because of the amazingly stupid decision to change them from the Washington Bullets with COOL uniforms and a COOL name to the incredibly dumb WIZARDS with incredibly CRAPPY uniforms. Seriously, sometimes political correctness is taken too far. Once they became the Wizards, I was done.

Posted by: grantarchy | July 6, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

America the Beautiful would be a good choice, either the ray charles or the Neil Young version. Both are excellent. But I would actually not mind silence, just the roar of the crowed, I mean its amazing enough with out the piped in noise.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse
----
As a member of the armed forces please don't play that song! We hear it way too much already. Play some Tool or Slayer.

Posted by: AnthonyMix | July 6, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

America the Beautiful would be a good choice, either the ray charles or the Neil Young version. Both are excellent. But I would actually not mind silence, just the roar of the crowed, I mean its amazing enough with out the piped in noise.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 6, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse
----
As a member of the armed forces please don't play that song! We hear it way too much already. Play some Tool or Slayer.

Posted by: AnthonyMix | July 6, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

alex35332: I hate to beat a dead horse, BUT... it is kindergarten NOT kindergarden! Dude, blame anyone that you want, but then look in the mirror. Sometimes it is just not everyone else's fault.

Posted by: Phillip258 | July 6, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The whole concept of "fan experience" is mind boggling to me, and such an internal conflict that its tough to comment on. On one hand, I understand someone refusing to pay for Redskins season tickets and concessions because of the prices, as well as the "dreadful fan experience." But on the other hand, fan is short for "fanatic", and many of us will gladly pay whatever the going rate is because our allegiance won't allow us to watch the game anywhere else, follow any other team, etc. The bottom line is, no fan should be ridiculed for giving up his tickets due to price or dissatisfaction with the stadium experience, and no fan should be chastized for plucking down big money to keep attending. If that aint straddlin the fence, I dont know what is. But its just a really tough topic.

Posted by: rob10873 | July 7, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The whole concept of "fan experience" is mind boggling to me, and such an internal conflict that its tough to comment on. On one hand, I understand someone refusing to pay for Redskins season tickets and concessions because of the prices, as well as the "dreadful fan experience." But on the other hand, fan is short for "fanatic", and many of us will gladly pay whatever the going rate is because our allegiance won't allow us to watch the game anywhere else, follow any other team, etc. The bottom line is, no fan should be ridiculed for giving up his tickets due to price or dissatisfaction with the stadium experience, and no fan should be chastized for plucking down big money to keep attending. If that aint straddlin the fence, I dont know what is. But its just a really tough topic.

Posted by: rob10873 | July 7, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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