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Posted at 9:59 AM ET, 01/11/2011

D.C. sports owners rooting for each other

By Dan Steinberg

The Washington Post hosted a summit of D.C. sports owners on Tuesday morning, featuring Ted Leonsis, Dan Snyder, Robert Tanenbaum, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Will Chang, many media members, breakfast snacks, and lots of fruit on pointy sticks.

There will be 18 zillion words written about the event, since it was fairly unique and we're desperate for content, but I wanted to pop up real quick to note that the owners said they're rooting for each other.

It started when Snyder was asked if he had any advice for his fellow owners.

"It's not as much advice," he said. "We are all rooting for each other, and one of the things that I as a Washingtonian, lifelong, recognize, is that this city needs winners. This city needs the Redskins to win, and we also hope Ted this year wins it for us....I's not as much advice as we're rooting for each other as Washingtonians.I think it's more for the city, for the town."

"You end up holding the psyche of the community in your hands," Leonsis later said. "We played Pittsburgh, one of the great sports cities in the country two Saturdays ago in the Winter Classic and we won a big game there, and when we left someone said you're the Grinch that stole Christmas. It is that meaningful. And when all of our teams win and prosper, the city's uplifted. And when we struggle or we lose in the playoffs, it's hard for all of us. And so I do understand and believe we're in it together, and we all know the big social responsibility we have in leading these enterprises."

Later, when asked about what to emulate from each other, Leonsis returned to this theme.

"I think the deep history of the Redskins is one of the assets of the city," he said. "There's not a person you meet that doesn't have some kind of connective tissue to the team, but it's really the championships. We can't forget how hard it is to win a championship. Will's been associated with a championship with the Giants, and D.C. United's won championships. The Redskins have won many Super Bowls. The Caps have never won a Stanley Cup. Mr. Pollin won an NBA ring.

"And when you win a championship, it creates a set of lifelong memories, and that's really the business that we're in. The metric that we need to measure is this touchpoint for mothers and fathers and children and best friends that they can remember fondly, and it's one of those lifelong memories....There's a generation of Redskins fans that have that as a touchpoint, and I hope to be able to deliver that to Caps fans."

And in fact, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum cited Leonsis's team when asked what she would copy from other local owners.

"Playoffs," she joked. "I think everybody is impressed by how the Capitals went from nothing to something big, and I think a lot of that has to do with Ted, his understanding of how to market a team and his relationship with his fans -- which is very deep and impressive."

Snyder didn't identify anything he wanted to emulate in the other owners, but he again talked about this co-rooting.

"I think it's more what I said earlier, we're rooting for them," he said. "And hopefully the Capitals can go all the way this year and deliver a Stanley Cup. I think they're on their way. We're rooting for them."

Robert Tanenbaum later talked about sports fans as having "almost a tribal affiliation. It's a wonderful thing. And there's very few businesses that have an opportunity to develop that....This is a real town, with real people, with real kids growing up, and a sports team has an opportunity to be an important part of our life and an important community builder. That's what we intend to me. That's our privilege and our responsibility."

And all the owners agreed with Leonsis's frequent characterization of sports ownership as a public trust.

"it may be our money, but it's the fans' team," Snyder said. "And that goes across the board up here. It's the fans' team, and we have the responsibility to try to do the right thing."

"A quasi public trust," Chang said. "Yeah it's my money, but it's really the fans' money."

Still, the best line came from Leonsis, when he was talking about a fan who complained about the colors of the Verizon Center Dippin Dots.

"If this is the ice cream of the future, were going to struggle as a civilization," he said.

Well, either that or when Snyder was asked what the worst money he ever spent was.

"I don't have to answer this," he said. "You all know."

Or maybe when Leonsis talked up his urinal cup holders.

"We can't top that," Snyder joked. "It's too good."

By Dan Steinberg  | January 11, 2011; 9:59 AM ET
Categories:  Caps, D.C. United, Nats, Redskins, Wizards  
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Next: Snyder and Leonsis on the media

Comments

Waiting for a "Rock the REDskins" chant to break out.

Posted by: dralison | January 11, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't buy a lot of that for a second. The "rising tide raises all boats" theme doesn't wash. This local sports franchises DO compete against each other. For fan dollars, sponsorship dollars, gear sales, television and radio deals, etc. When a Redskins advertiser decides to spend his budget on the Caps instead, that hurts Snyder. Same when a Redskins club seat holder decides to buy Nats season tickets instead. So maybe these guys have a fan's interest in the other teams doing well. But their businessman's instinct is to the contrary. And I have to say that if there is any owner who has acted like the team is his private domain, it's Snyder. So for him to mouth the public trust stuff is as hypocritical as it gets.........

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 11, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe when Leonsis talked up his urinal cup holders.

"We can't top that," Snyder joked. "It's too good."

You don't need to top it Dan, just repeat it. Even better - cupholders at the seats.

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | January 11, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

No way is Snyder "rooting" for any of the other DC franchises. No way. They all compete with him for the dollars of the fans in this area -- I would bet he hates to see the success Leonsis has had with the Caps. It just makes him look bad by comparison. Of course, I'll bet Leonsis can't stand him either...

Posted by: dbunkr | January 11, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"It started when Snyder was asked if he had any advice for his fellow owners."

Seriously, who but a bank robber would want advice from Dan Snyder?

Posted by: bethesdaguy | January 11, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Recently, The Washington Post ran a story on a partnership between Cal Ripken and Alexander Ovechkin. In the article, as has been the case with any Washington Post Article, it talks about Cal being a Washington Sports Star. I am all for that. But, look what team he played for? The Baltimore Orioles. With that, the Post would be "surprised" to learn that many of its readers are currently rooting for another "home" team: The Ravens.

Posted by: NAT1971 | January 11, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The Ravens and Orioles are about as much hometown DC teams as the Phillies or Eagles. Lord knows, the existence of the Orioles kept baseball away for 33 years. And the Ravens? Now we get the treat of watching them play a meaningless game against the Browns because we are a "secondary market." Give me a break. Cal belongs to Baltimore. I'd rather see Ovi run around with Chip Lohmiller or some other insignificant local "8."

Posted by: truke | January 11, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder giving giving Ted Leonsis advice? I hope Ted took a shower afterwards. I agree with an earlier post- who but a bank robber would take advice form an arrogant moron who has just about permanently alienated life long fans. Rooting for the Ravens? Unheard of 10 years ago but not a bad idea now. Hey Danny, my kids got Patriots, Bears and Rams gear for Christmas this year- did you feel that in your wallet you jerk?

Posted by: rveatch | January 11, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Are you guys kidding? When our sports teams collectively do well, they all sell lots of tickets. It has nothing to do with competing against each other. It's not like when the Caps do well, I specifically don't go to the Nats games. If both the Caps and Nats do well, I'll spend more of my entertainment budget on both! The teams are individual businesses, but it's as if the Nats are in the clothing business, the Caps are in the office supplies business, and the Redskins are in the electronics business. When you run your business well individually and win more games, your business will sell more tickets.

Posted by: crzytwnman | January 11, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

So when will the video be posted, Dan?

Posted by: Juan-John1 | January 11, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"It started when Snyder was asked if he had any advice for his fellow owners."

I have some advice for Snyder: Sell the team (Ideally to Leonsis). You've ruined every business you've ever had contact with, but this one affects the public. Get out.

Posted by: mcstowy | January 11, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Guys, I've got to admit, you are on a roll. They're some real funny comments posted today. Keep it up!

Posted by: carterm1 | January 11, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

" 'It started when Snyder was asked if he had any advice for his fellow owners.'

Seriously, who but a bank robber would want advice from Dan Snyder?

Posted by: bethesdaguy"

Brilliant post!

Posted by: garrafa10 | January 11, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Washington has a long tradition of losing in every sport -- probably second only to Cleveland among major cities. Senators/Nats (first in war, first in peace, last in the American League --now NL) the Caps (no titles since starting in '74) Bullets/Wiz (pretty much awful to mediocre since '78 title)

Even the Redskins. They failed to make playoffs from 1946 to 1970 and their performance since 1991 title goes without saying. All five titles in 75-plus years of existence came during two 10-year spans: from 1936 to 1945 and between 1982 and 1991. Other than that, a lot of losing.

Posted by: loux24 | January 11, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Change the racist name of the Washington football team Danny Boy. Go Ravens!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 11, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Change the racist name of the Washington football team Danny Boy. Go Ravens!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy a lot of that for a second. The "rising tide raises all boats" theme doesn't wash. This local sports franchises DO compete against each other. For fan dollars, sponsorship dollars, gear sales, television and radio deals, etc. When a Redskins advertiser decides to spend his budget on the Caps instead, that hurts Snyder. Same when a Redskins club seat holder decides to buy Nats season tickets instead. So maybe these guys have a fan's interest in the other teams doing well. But their businessman's instinct is to the contrary. And I have to say that if there is any owner who has acted like the team is his private domain, it's Snyder. So for him to mouth the public trust stuff is as hypocritical as it gets.........

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 11, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Consider the source.

Posted by: stwasm | January 11, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I think it is funny how Snyder and Leonsis are now neighbors. I read in The Post that Leonsis just scored a mansion that is up the street from Dan Snyder's in Potomac Maryland.

So Ted leaves McLean Virginia for Potomac to be neighbors with Dan? How soon before Dan wants to be neighbors with Ted in Washington DC with a new stadium deal. Jack Kent Cooke Stadium aka FedEx sucks. If Dan wants to create a better fan experience, it should start with winning and a new stadium!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | January 11, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I remember when the Mystics first came here they were at or near the top in attendence in the WNBA. Then came the Nats. Sorry girls. Its the boys of summer that we want to see. Point is, with Ted's teams playing at about the same time of year and the Nats and Mystics playing at about the same time of year, the only time where there is a slight breather is Fall. Danny should take advantage of it. Hands Off!

Posted by: davidthecompjunky | January 11, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

All I can say...

Dan Snyder having Ted as a friend and influence is 10000000000000x better than hanging out with Jerrah Jones.

Posted by: jbanks979 | January 11, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

""Are you guys kidding? When our sports teams collectively do well, they all sell lots of tickets. It has nothing to do with competing against each other.""

I really think that ignores reality. You may have an unlimited budget for sports events, but I guarantee you that most families, businesses, etc. don't. For many, every dollar spent on one team is a dollar less spent on another. These teams compete in many, many ways. Not only for fan and advertiser dollars, but for media attention.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 11, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@rveatch,

Dan Snyder giving giving Ted Leonsis advice? I hope Ted took a shower afterwards.

This is simply PRICELESS!!! ROFL!!

Posted by: carterm1 | January 11, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Change the racist name of the Washington football team Danny Boy. Go Ravens!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Racist according to who? Certainly not according to the vast majority of Native Americans, who according to polls, aren't the least bit bothered by the team name Redskins. It's a manufactured controversy...by people feigning outrage on behalf of Native Americans who, for the most part, don't even care about this issue.

Check the polls on this non-issue:

90% of Native Americans polled weren't offended by it: http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/NewsDetails.aspx?myId=89

Or check the Sports Illustrated poll back in 2002 that found more than 75% of Native Americans weren't bothered by Redskins name.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Nat1971 wrote:

"Recently, The Washington Post ran a story on a partnership between Cal Ripken and Alexander Ovechkin. In the article, as has been the case with any Washington Post Article, it talks about Cal being a Washington Sports Star. I am all for that. But, look what team he played for? The Baltimore Orioles. With that, the Post would be "surprised" to learn that many of its readers are currently rooting for another "home" team: The Ravens."
_______________________________

Although I do have a problem with Washington area fans rooting for the Orioles, I have no problem with the Ravens. As a Redskins fan, I am personally ashamed that my team kept Baltimore from getting an NFL expansion team to hog the DC/Balt. area. As a result, Jacksonville got a team instead. In hindsight, that was a dumb move by the NFL.

I don't think the Post should cover the Ravens like a Washington team, but if Snyder could follow the Ravens' blueprint on how to build a playoff contender, we might win a world championship before the decade is out. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 11, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Nat1971 wrote:

"Recently, The Washington Post ran a story on a partnership between Cal Ripken and Alexander Ovechkin. In the article, as has been the case with any Washington Post Article, it talks about Cal being a Washington Sports Star. I am all for that. But, look what team he played for? The Baltimore Orioles. With that, the Post would be "surprised" to learn that many of its readers are currently rooting for another "home" team: The Ravens."
_______________________________

Although I do have a problem with Washington area fans rooting for the Orioles, I have no problem with the Ravens. As a Redskins fan, I am personally ashamed that my team kept Baltimore from getting an NFL expansion team to hog the DC/Balt. area. As a result, Jacksonville got a team instead. In hindsight, that was a dumb move by the NFL.

I don't think the Post should cover the Ravens like a Washington team, but if Snyder could follow the Ravens' blueprint on how to build a playoff contender, we might win a world championship before the decade is out. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 11, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Nat1971 wrote:

"Recently, The Washington Post ran a story on a partnership between Cal Ripken and Alexander Ovechkin. In the article, as has been the case with any Washington Post Article, it talks about Cal being a Washington Sports Star. I am all for that. But, look what team he played for? The Baltimore Orioles. With that, the Post would be "surprised" to learn that many of its readers are currently rooting for another "home" team: The Ravens."
_______________________________

Although I do have a problem with Washington area fans rooting for the Orioles, I have no problem with the Ravens. As a Redskins fan, I am personally ashamed that my team kept Baltimore from getting an NFL expansion team to hog the DC/Balt. area. As a result, Jacksonville got a team instead. In hindsight, that was a dumb move by the NFL.

I don't think the Post should cover the Ravens like a Washington team, but if Snyder could follow the Ravens' blueprint on how to build a playoff contender, we might win a world championship before the decade is out. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 11, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Barno1 !! Hit the nail on the head!

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | January 11, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Barno

If only 10% or 25% of African-Americans were offended by a sports nickname---especially in this area---it would produce a media firestorm. Why else would the late Abe Pollin change the name of the Wizards to the Bullets?

Miami University (the one in Ohio, not Florida) used to have the same problem. They changed the name of their team name from the Redskins to the RedHawks. Don't see why we can't do the same. As inconceivable as it is for any Washington fan to call their team anything but "Redskins" or "'Skins", THAT is the part which is most offensive. "Redhawks" is similar enough to the old name so we can get used to it. In fact, substitute that for "Redskins" and change "Braves on the warpath" and we still have our fight song. The old helmet used to be an "R" in a circle with two feathers. We can go back to it.

We can't root for the "Bullets" because of gun violence. We can't root for the "Senators" because D.C. has no voting representation in Congress. But it's OK to root for a racially insensitive nickname like "Redskins" because white and black sports fans in this area don't think it's offensive to THEM?

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 11, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The theory that a rising tide raises all boats in this case is simply ludicrous.

I've been a Redskins season ticket holder for 10 years, and next year I'm not coming back. Since Snyder bought the team, the Redskins have shown ZERO return on financial or emotional investment. Dan Snyder has:

1. No interest in either giving back to, or connecting with the fans themselves,
2. No interest in investing in the long-term success of the team, 3. Shown no effort in improving the game day stadium experience, which includes parking (two new HD scoreboards don't count, and are the norm in most other modern football stadiums),

If I held stock in the Redskins, I'd hold out until they were worth something. But why keep throwing money at an owner who cares little if nothing for the fans themselves?

I will always be a Redskins fan, but I will not pitch in to line Snyder's pockets until he shows me he can invest the fans' hand-earned money by making some intelligent and secure decisions with it.

That said, I'm also a recreational hockey player, Capitals fan and season ticket holder. This move frees up more money for me to spend on Caps gear, food and beverage in and around the Phone Booth on game days, and to generally enjoy peace of mind by investing not only in a winning team, but in a winning philosophy. ...And have money left over.

Posted by: atomicshakespeare | January 11, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Snyder, u been burnt sooooo, many times u don't when to pick a winner. But i believe u want to win for real . So keep trying the "Law Of Averages" is on your side.

Posted by: dmayfiel | January 11, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

And in fact, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum cited Leonsis's team when asked what she would copy from other local owners. "I think everybody is impressed by how the Capitals went from nothing to something big, and I think a lot of that has to do with Ted, his understanding of how to market a team and his relationship with his fans."

Hahahaha. I wonder how much of it has to do with Ted's strategy of having the ping pong ball pop his way when a GENERATIONAL sports talent in Alex Ovechkin was available. Sorry, this town had Langway, Stevens, Gartner, and Murphy (Hall of Fame players all) IN THEIR PRIME and the DC area never went ga-go over the Caps. It's #8, lady, not Ted!

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | January 11, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

It's #8, lady, not Ted!

Posted by: capscapscaps2


Maybe, but the Nationals have a hitter and Pitcher equivalent of Ovi in Strasburg and Harper, in 2 years the Nats will put two of the best players in MLB out on the field every 5 games.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 12, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Although I do have a problem with Washington area fans rooting for the Orioles,

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

Posted by: femfour | January 11, 2011 7:05 PM |
--------------------

Blow it out your rear-end. Go Orioles!!!!!

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 12, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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