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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Wizards invite fans to come see LeBron

By Dan Steinberg

Ted Leonsis, Nov. 3, asked on 106.7 The Fan whether he's interested in the Miami Heat's progress:

"Nope. I'll never ever market our team and [ask fans to] come to our arena to see someone else play. I think we have enough stars that can shine, and I want to build total loyalty and empathy and love for our players and our franchise."

Am I splitting hairs a bit? Maybe. But I'm not sure how you read this marketing message from the Wizards as anything but asking fans to come to see someone else play.

By Dan Steinberg  | December 8, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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You're splitting hairs. I think this is roughly the same as saying "The Capitals take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins." Washington fans have a long history of despising James (the crab dribble, etc.).

At least they're not saying "Hey, Heat fans: come see your team in Washington," which some other NBA and NHL teams have resorted to doing.

Posted by: DC_BCF | December 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Susan O'Malley just gave herself a high five..

Posted by: 3tripleiii | December 8, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The difference between this and something like what Stan Kasten was doing with the Nats is that this is not "Miami Heat fans!! Now is the time to come see your team!" but rather something more like "basketball fans, come see one of the best players in the game" and/or "LeBron haters, you can come boo him this night."

If Ted Leonsis goes on Miami radio talking about how Verizon Center is a great venue and there are cheap flights from Miami to DC available, then I'll start getting outraged. This seems like pretty normal, inoffensive marketing.

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

Good to see Susan O'Malley back with the Wiz. Oh wait, no it isn't.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 8, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree with DC_BCF, you're spitting hairs. Sure they want you to see Lebron, but they want you to be there to see what the Wizards can do against his team and not what he can do against the Wizards.

This is not like the Florida Panthers telling Montreal and Philadelphia fans to come see their teams play in Florida and then offering special ticket offers for those fans.

Plus, I don't think Ted is in charge of every single marketing message that comes from the Wizards.

Posted by: letsgocaps12 | December 8, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

You are not splitting hairs. The ad does what Ted says he wouldn't do.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | December 8, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

They do "limited steats available" adds for the Caps to, so it's not out of line, but it does really flirt with that line.

Posted by: EricS2 | December 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Susan O'Malley just gave herself a high five.."

Just thinking he same thing.


- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 8, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I can be objective and say NEVER EVER translates to ALWAYS. He got caught eating the baklava!

BUY TICKETS, Teddy is sweating as the luster of John Wall is wearing off so come see LeBron and the exciting visiting teams plus the New York following can cheer on their KNICKS!

Just pathetic.

Posted by: PensRule | December 8, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

These also just happen to be 3 consecutive home games for the Wizards. And are the Knicks really a draw. He is just letting people know "Hey, we have three games coming up that aren't Charlotte, Philly, and whoever". Crap, the nats advertise things like "Come to next weeks series against the Marlins...". Its advertising, plain and simple. The other alternatives are to not advertise or advertisse by saying "Come see the Wizards play on 12/10, 12/14, or 12/18. Find out the opponent when you show up". People want to know what they are buying and a game against Charlotte is different than a game against the Lakers

Posted by: makplan20002 | December 8, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I bet Leonsis didn't approve that ad.

Posted by: bermudml | December 8, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whether Ted approved the ad or not it clearly is counter to what he said he would never ever do....

"Nope. I'll never ever market our team and [ask fans to] come to our arena to see someone else play.

Read the ad, "December 18th when LeBron James and the Miami Heat make their first visit to Verizon Center"

Not splitting hairs, that is clear.

Instead as he says, he needs to market the Wizards players.

Its embarassing but clearly about getting paying customers to watch the other team as this is a Wizards team nobody cares about.

Just wait for the Captials to become irrelevant and Uncle Teddy will have some real issues!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I bet Leonsis didn't approve that ad.

Posted by: bermudml | December 8, 2010 1:21 PM |

Can you just see Leonsis on the Apprentice when the assignment was to fill seats in the arena marketing strictly your own team and Donald Trump fires Leonsis for not following the strict instructions of the assignment?

Leonsis says, "I didn't approve that ad, it was someone who was handling the marketing. I just was the Leader on this task Mr. Trump".

Trump, "You're FIRED!"

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 8, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

You're splitting hairs. I totally agree with "letsgocaps12", he hit the nail on the head. Ted is a smart business man, why bring it up?

Posted by: Tuffluk | December 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Next we'll get "Singles Night"....just kidding. Leonsis is a long, long way from the horrible depths of the Susan O'Malley reign of terror.

Posted by: dbunkr | December 8, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I usually like to jump on the snarky one, but I agree that this is splitting hairs. He is not markleting Stanley Cup finals tickets to Red Wing fans, opr ticketas to folks in Miami.

Posted by: rbluesw | December 8, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I remember when reporters would seek comment from a person before writing articles about them like this... or at least mention somewhere in the article that they tried to get a comment. Maybe you feel the word "blog" means you don't owe him that courtesy, but I think the masthead means you do.

While this is not exactly a "Come see the Wizards" message, I do not think it is anything like the O'Malley era of advertising directly to fans of opposing teams. It's simply reminding per-game ticket buyers when the teams and players NBA fans in general are most interested in will be in town.

Here's an interesting article (presumably opinion as I see no sources) that I think demonstrates why telling people when the Heat are coming to town is a smart marketing move:

But as I said, we can't know the thought behind the message when you don't even ask the originator what it was.

Posted by: rizzodj | December 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

This is so petty! But that seems to be your style.

Posted by: bobilly1 | December 8, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

They are marketing to see other teams. Nobody wants to see the Wizards. The Orioles do the same thing.

Posted by: bal503 | December 8, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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