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Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Leonsis stands by his pledge not to market opposing stars

By Dan Steinberg

A few days ago, I noted that a Wizards e-mail had invited fans to
buy tickets to the Dec. 18th home game, "when LeBron James and the Miami Heat make their first visit to Verizon Center!" I thought this seemed to at least mildly contradict his previous pledge not to market visiting stars to his home fans.

Some of you disagreed and said I was splitting hairs. But Leonsis weighed in on his blog, and in a major upset, he agreed with me. Go figure.

This is a teachable moment for us. This is not how we market and I must take accountability here and say we are wrong. I will find out how our systems failed us and am hopeful that this would never happen again.

I can't point fingers. The buck stops with me and I am sorry that this happened.

Even worse, I just found a Caps-related direct e-mailer that mentions a player on another team too. This shouldn't be happening but as majority owner, I have to take the heat and I understand that and accept that as a responsibility....

I apologize. No one is getting yelled at. No one is being terminated. Everyone knows how I feel. We have enough stars and offer enough value to our fans to never have to mention another team and or player to get fans to come into our arena.

I can't find a single cross word to say about any of this.

By Dan Steinberg  | December 10, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Wizards  
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Next: Caps narrowly beating Wizards in local TV ratings

Comments

Wow. The contrast in accountability and intelligence to the Redskins vertically-challenged current owner has never been more evident.

Posted by: thediesel | December 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The runt in Ashburn will always pale in comparison -- something about character -- Ted has it, Dan don't.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 10, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

What a class act.

It's not always what you do, but how you do it. Ted always does it right.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | December 10, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

And when have the Redskins marketed their opponents???

Amazing isn't Dan how a seemingly non-Redskins related item quickly becomes one?

Posted by: CapsNut | December 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Best Owner in D.C. without question. He just gets it. He's honest with the fans and himself. Go Ted!

Posted by: Eckertae | December 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It seems like a misguided policy. Why wouldn't you play up rivalries, either between teams or between players? Lebron and the Wizards have history. The Caps and the Pens have history, specifically between Ovie and Crosby. Why not get people excited about that?

As long as the message is, "Come to the Verizon Center to boo Lebron" and not "Come to the Verizon center to see Lebron", and as long as it's reserved for real rivalries, I can't understand why it would be a problem.

Posted by: tomsing | December 10, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Wonder where the Nationals marketing staff is at on this one -- especially given their track record of whoring out for Philly fans.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

All this hero worship is funny. He is a brilliant marketer and turned a negative into a positive. He makes millions of dollars getting you to buy tickets, buy merchandise and watch the team on TV, etc. I do go to Verizon because I like sports but I know just how smart he is on marketing and if all owners took a page from his book "The Business of Happiness" they will learn how you do cater to a fanbase.

Even when Dan posted the original post there were those that figured it wasn't contrary to his previous statement so the Kool-aid drinkers can all relax as Ted isn't firing anyone.

I do have a problem with this part of his statement "as majority owner, I have to take the heat". There he is pushing the Miami Heat again. (Humorous statement, hope you got it).

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 10, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

GGG - very fuuny. Was that Freudian of Leonsis or he got caught up in his morning bougatsa!

The Rooney family in Pittsburgh is the best ownership group in sports according to all readers of Sports Illustrated. Leonsis may be the best in Washington because the standards aren't high enough!

The man is clever as he has his patrons be his volunteer focus group and suggestion box and it costs him nothing. Nobody can complain in Ted's utopia except the chronic losing. Let me know when he wins a Stanley Cup!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

GGG - very fuuny. Was that Freudian of Leonsis or he got caught up in his morning bougatsa!

The Rooney family in Pittsburgh is the best ownership group in sports according to all readers of Sports Illustrated. Leonsis may be the best in Washington because the standards aren't high enough!

The man is clever as he has his patrons be his volunteer focus group and suggestion box and it costs him nothing. Nobody can complain in Ted's utopia except the chronic losing. Let me know when he wins a Stanley Cup!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

GGG - very fuuny. Was that Freudian of Leonsis or he got caught up in his morning bougatsa!

The Rooney family in Pittsburgh is the best ownership group in sports according to all readers of Sports Illustrated. Leonsis may be the best in Washington because the standards aren't high enough!

The man is clever as he has his patrons be his volunteer focus group and suggestion box and it costs him nothing. Nobody can complain in Ted's utopia except the chronic losing. Let me know when he wins a Stanley Cup!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

CapsNut - Good point on the Redskins not marketing about other cities but in all fairness the Skins are essentially sold out every game.

I will give Dan Snyder credit as he is finally making an effort it would appear to connect with the fans. Not sure if it is genuine so time will tell.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 10, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

GGG - very fuuny. Was that Freudian of Leonsis or he got caught up in his morning bougatsa!

The Rooney family in Pittsburgh is the best ownership group in sports according to all readers of Sports Illustrated. Leonsis may be the best in Washington because the standards aren't high enough!

The man is clever as he has his patrons be his volunteer focus group and suggestion box and it costs him nothing. Nobody can complain in Ted's utopia except the chronic losing. Let me know when he wins a Stanley Cup!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

PENSRULE - We got your message the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th times. Geeeez

The Penguins will meet the mighty Capitals at some point in the Playoffs this year and we will see who comes out victorious.

Will you then come back on here and become a Caps fan?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 10, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I’m shocked. Just when I think Ted can’t manage teams – and more importantly people – any better, he one ups himself. He really does know how to manage people to get the best out of them and deliver the best product to the fans. I don’t need to throw my two cent comparison of Ted vs. Dan into the ring, but this once again vividly points out the difference. I’m excited that one day soon DC will win a NHL and/or NBA championship. And at the same time depressed that we won’t do the same in football. I think you have to take the good with the bad. Enjoy the Redskins while you can in their brief moments of victory and root like “he**” for the Caps and Wizards. Ted, keep up the good work. It truly is appreciated all of us.

Posted by: ECUPirate68 | December 10, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So mention LeBron James and the Heat coming to town - but then say, "Oh my bad, we don't market other teams!" All the while, you're drawing attention to the marketing of the other team. All publicity is good publicity. Kind of like a prosecuting attorney badgering a witness when he/she knows it will be stricken from the record - but the point still gets out there to the jury. LEBRON IS COMING! Wait, strike that from the record.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Used to be a season ticket holder with the Wizards. Now that I cann ot see their games on TV due to their contract with Comcast, I have lost interest in them and the Caps. Ted may wish to explorew and find out if other TV networks have a higher audience rating for us local fans.

Posted by: HLSHAP | December 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Pens might rule; apparently they can't read.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | December 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

GoingGoingGone -
You are right.
"PENSRULE" just can't master all the high tech of a keyboard, or common decency like most folks outside PA.

Posted by: pjohn2 | December 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

And when have the Redskins marketed their opponents???

Amazing isn't Dan how a seemingly non-Redskins related item quickly becomes one?

Posted by: CapsNut | December 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Amazing isn't it? The vitriol and misguided hatred fans have towards Dan Snyder never ceases to amaze me. You'd think the guy was a serial killer who murdered little children on Christmas or something. Jesus, he is a good guy who is a lot richer than you who hasn't fielded a consistently winning nfl team by the age of 40 something--that doesn't make him the devil.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 10, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

My apologies for posting numerous times. My computer sucks. Still doesn't mean I am not right.

Winning the championships will immortalize owners not stupid publicity stunts like this. Dan Steinberg has always been one of Leonsis brown nosers just like he is to Cooley. I have read theis column for a few months and it is clear who Dan Steinberg likes and doesn't like.

I think his LeBron post was a setup so Leonsis could get more butt kissing. All I am saying is WIN. You got embarassed in the 1st round of the playoffs last year by the 8 seed. Leonsis, come on, man up!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

PJOHN2 - I wish he was from Philadelphia because they are lower than any life form when it comes to sports.

Funny after the Steelers beat the Ravens in a great game, instead of celebrating like gentleman, they go into the street going crazy like they just won the Super Bowl.

You would think they would celebrate like they have been there before. Good thing Pittsburgh doesn't possess a NBA basketball team because they would probably be as bad as the Pittsburgh Pirates who haven't won over 79 games since 1992. 18 years and counting of losing baseball.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 10, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@PensRule

Of course Dan likes Cooley and Leonsis (and Fletcher and Laich for that matter). As does most people in the DC area. Who wouldn't aside from rival fans? They are very down to earth, likable guys. They speak the truth, they don't point fingers, and they all display a great passion for making their team better.

Haha, and no... winning a championship does not "immortalize and owner". Nothing but being great to the fans immortalizes an owner. And I'd argue that very few owners have reached "immortal" status like a player or coach has... especially on a national level.

Oh, and remember when you lost to the same 8 seed last year? Don't worry, you'll see plenty of the Caps in the near future. May the best team win.

Posted by: MillBurray | December 10, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

BillMurray - when Cooley does something truly where it isn't a paid appearance then I will care.

It is called being genuine. Ovechkin is genuine. He goes to clubs and has a good time with no fanfare of getting paid to show up.

See, I can say something nice about the Capitals!

By the way maybe the Gr8 8 shouldn't partay so much!

Posted by: PensRule | December 10, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Amazing isn't it? The vitriol and misguided hatred fans have towards Dan Snyder never ceases to amaze me. You'd think the guy was a serial killer who murdered little children on Christmas or something. Jesus, he is a good guy who is a lot richer than you who hasn't fielded a consistently winning nfl team by the age of 40 something--that doesn't make him the devil.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 10, 2010 2:03 PM

Are you out of your mind? Seriously. And what does being richer than everyone have to do with anything? The guy gouges every cent from fans, bans signs, meddles in decisions he has no clue about and has transformed a once proud franchise into the laughing stock of the NFL and idiots like you defend him. The only good thing about the guy is that he is willing to spend money on the team.

I didn't see a single comment above that said he was the devil. All someone said was compared to Ted, the guy doesn't own up to any mistakes (in fact he makes the same ones over and over again).

You're delusional.

Posted by: Moose33 | December 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Ted's is a nice sentiment, not sure its a great business decision. Judging from attendance figures league wide it sure seems like NBA attendance is opposition driven.

Posted by: heiser3@yahoo.com | December 10, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing Barno1 recently got a great deal on an Audi.

Leonsis is impressively shooting himself in the foot, I'll give him that.

Posted by: WorstSeat | December 10, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse


Over the life of a 30 year loan, a $300 per month decrease would equal over $100K in savings. Search the web for "123 Mortgage Refinance" website they helped me find 3.118% rate easily. Strongly recommend them for anyone.

Posted by: gladysthomas | December 11, 2010 4:36 AM | Report abuse

Not marketing other teams stars is good business, it's like a Chef that won't change a meal for a dumb customer request. That builds a rep for quality product.

Posted by: cyberjaphe | December 11, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

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