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Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 12/13/2010

Leonsis makes most influential people in sports business list

By Dan Steinberg

(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

Times are tough for Ted Leonsis's sports teams, at least from a short-term perspective. The Caps and Wizards have combined for 10 straight losses, and fans have raised questions about the leadership of both teams in recent days.

Still, the top of Monumental Sports -- Leonsis himself -- was honored in a way Monday morning with inclusion in SportsBusiness Journal's annual list of the 50 most influential people in sports business. Leonsis debuts at 37th on the list, making him the highest-ranked D.C. sports figure (unless you count NFLPA officials as D.C. sports figures). The publication's explanation:

When the NBA board of governors unanimously approved Ted Leonsis' purchase of the Wizards in June, the longtime media executive became one of an exclusive group that owns two major professional sports teams and an arena in a top-10 market. Even though Leonsis' TV rights are tied up in a long-term deal with Comcast SportsNet, he is looking for ways to dive further into the media business. Leonsis is at the starting point of turning around the Wizards' franchise, using a blueprint similar to the one he used to turn around the Capitals.

Leonsis was one of just six team owners to make the list, along with Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, John Henry and Hal Steinbrenner. The only figure with strong local connections on the list was Under Armour's Kevin Plank, who ranked 38th.

By Dan Steinberg  | December 13, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Caps, Wizards  
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Next: Sunday's crowd at FedEx Field

Comments

I wish he was less influential and instead just your standard quiet non-blogging owner. No Ted, I don't need to hear about how everything is perfect with your teams.. it's not.

Posted by: Semvechkin | December 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Have to love the quote of "Leonsis is at the starting point of turning around the Wizards franchise, using a blueprint similar to the one he used to turn around the Capitals"

Must be a blueprint of selling tickets because it certainly hasn't been about winning the Stanley Cup. According to what I read, the Capitals made it to the Stanley Cup Finals with their previous owner.

Really, this all about the money grab and a perception he is sending out. Once the Caps make losing a regular event, that arena will go half empty.

Posted by: PensRule | December 13, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I think of how time consuming it is to run 1 sports franchise and now Ted is running 2 distinctly different sports.

I don't think it can be done well. All the "feel good" stuff is great when you are winning but it doesn't feel good now.

The Wizards only have one direction to go in and that is up but I'd rather see him concentrate on the Capitals.

We may want to talk about the offense of the Caps but the defense has been horrendous. You can't fall behind by 3 or 4 goals and get back into these games.

It may be time to finally look at changing out Boudreau and shake it up. I didn't blame him for the meltdown in the 1st round of the playoffs last year but this low energy style of play isn't working.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 13, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Have to love the quote of "Leonsis is at the starting point of turning around the Wizards franchise, using a blueprint similar to the one he used to turn around the Capitals"

Must be a blueprint of selling tickets because it certainly hasn't been about winning the Stanley Cup. According to what I read, the Capitals made it to the Stanley Cup Finals with their previous owner.

Really, this all about the money grab and a perception he is sending out. Once the Caps make losing a regular event, that arena will go half empty.

Posted by: PensRule | December 13, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

GGG - if Leonsis had to get a new coach where would he find someone equal in girth and looks?

Also, what would happen to all those hiddeous commercials of your Boudreau that we have to witness on TV?

Posted by: PensRule | December 13, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Pensrule, can't you find another hole to climb into and please stop posting the same thing again and again.

If you want to talk about looks, your boy Sidney Crosby looks like he is trying to grow a mustache.

So is this part of Ovechkin shaves so its time for Sid the Squid to grow some hair?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 13, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Leonsis is at the starting point of turning around the Wizards' franchise, using a blueprint similar to the one he used to turn around the Capitals." Let's hope he's made a few tweaks to the blueprint in the meantime since the Caps, with some of the hottest stars in the sport, are still losing money. Lots of money. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/31/hockey-valuations-10_Washington-Capitals_312495.html

Posted by: Mathonwy | December 13, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mathonwy - Doesn't that all change with his ownership now of the Suites and club seats?

I think the Caps have to be making tons of money going forward!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis bought the team for only $85 million and the value according to Forbes is now $197 million so he has more than doubled his investment. Couple that with none of us have seen his accounting and how much he pays himself so a $9 million loss lacks any true bearing if he is paying out millions in salaries to himself and family.

From what I read, the franchise was worth more than what Leonsis paid for it in 1999 based on the bond he had with the prvious owner.

Posted by: PensRule | December 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Leonsis is at the starting point of turning around the Wizards franchise, using a blueprint similar to the one he used to turn around the Capitals"

Ted's blueprint for turning around the Caps:

1. Have ping pong ball, go your way; win draft lottery

2. Select generational talent who will fill your building, but team on national TV

3. Blog about yourself.

4. Blog about yourself some more.

5. Threaten to not take anymore fan email because some fans email you dirty words.

Too bad for Ted, John Wall is not a generational talent. But fear not, Wiz fans, NOTHING stops Ted from blogging about himself.

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | December 13, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

What a shame. Not to long ago we had a great hockey team here in DC, they were headed in the right direction, there was a Cup in the future and maube not that far off.
Then the sad news came, Abe was no longer with us, the chair would no longer be filled in his box. A great man that rebuilt an area of DC single handed. Then somone else LOST HIS FOCUS, now I can own, the building and all 3 teams, I have a new focus. And once again the caps fan are thrown to the side. They now are like skins fans paying for over priced jeserys, over priced beer and soda, horrible food (the punch list is failing too, no one remembers all the things that were to be done any more, what a PR spin that was). And just like skins fans we caps fans have a FAILING team.

But not to worry Ted has the time to blog.

Drop the Puck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | December 14, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

bqts - It is kind of like a monopoly and the bottomline is Ted's success and Ted's profit because he will tell you that he doesn't believe in failure.

When you attend one of his VIP cocktail hours for elite season ticket holders and you reach out to shake his hand he won't give you eye contact and is on to some one else in an instant as if you are beneath him and you know you were GLADHANDED by a master of PR.

I have been a Caps STH going back to the Capital Centre, and this year may be my last. The price of everything including my tickets are going up while other teams are holding steady and dropping prices, I see quality going down. As Ted packs more and more people in the Verizon, the lines are longer, it takes longer to get in and out and even the players are frustrated.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 14, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@ GoingGoingGone

I too am STH, while not as long as you, haven't lived here that long. We usually get there just before warm ups and get 2 sodas/waters each, me and the wife as we are tired of the lines. Now to fix this after 2 years of teach the band wagon fans "Stop Puck in Play" they put beer people in the way WTF !!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah MONEY. I agree with you on the ticket prices. Lived in Detroit and am on their mailing lists still. They still give away tickets, the wings not some big name company.

Anyway nothing will change. Not even if we don't make the play offs because even then the answer will

Oh I promise to put a better product out next season because I am about winning.

Posted by: bqts | December 14, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse


My concern what Caps can do to start playing like a team . I don't expecting Caps to improve so drastically in such a short time , this going to be very long - time consuming effort ; honestly I haven't seen them playing as a team for almost 2 [two] years now ; Caps was winning only because been lucky + individual performance of the players . If you take a note that every team in NHL has own face and stile - Capitals chaos and panic specially in defensive zone will never take them to the destination we all dreaming about . THE COACH is the main and most important link to make them play as a Team !! I love hockey for long time and became realistic and my message just my own opinion ; Hope - the Coach and my Caps will prove me wrong . Go Caps !!!!

Posted by: knopka | December 15, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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