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Posted at 11:57 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Snyder and Leonsis on the media

By Dan Steinberg

(By Matt McClain - TWP)


One of the great things about having all the D.C. sports owners in The Post's auditorium for Tuesday's Business of Sports symposium thing was that they could all take shots at the media and we had to just sit there and smile and take it since we invited them there. On the other hand, we could console ourselves with slices of banana bread, while they had to sit on stage.

It started early, when moderator Mary Jordan asked about the particular challenges of owning a sports team in this market.

"You," Ted Leonsis said, meaning "You, The Post."

"I agree with him," Dan Snyder chimed in, to much laughter.

Later, Snyder was asked how important it is to be liked.

"I think when you win, you're liked," Snyder said. "No, but I think there is a difference between the media and fans, and a lot of members of the media don't realize that. The fan support is unbelievable. Awesome. You sit there and read that the coach is this or the players this, your owner's this. And in reality, the fan support is spectacular. And the connection between the fan and his or her team is what it's all about."

This sort of led into a discussion of social media, a topic that Leonsis obviously is well versed in.

"I'm an extrovert, and I get my energy and my input from fans," Leonsis said. "I think this new media is like oxygen. Get used to it. I think that there is no more steering wheel in the hand of The Washington Post. I used to live in mortal fear about what you would write. Now, I don't care."

More laughter.

"I think it's something that you need to internalize: that we're our own media company," Leonsis said, again addressing The Post. "I announce things on my blog. I get 40 to 90,000 people coming to my blog, depending on the subject. I have a direct, unfiltered way to reach our audience now, and I think that harnessing that is what you have to do as ownership, because we are media brands. We're in the subscription business. We call them season-ticket holders. We're in the sponsorship business. We're in the same business [as The Post]. When someone goes to find out something about me or a team or a player, and they go to Google and they type that in, I want to learn how to get the highest on the list, and I've done that. I don't want The Washington Post to get the most clicks. I want the most clicks."

Uh, bartender, get me three more slices of banana bread, stat.

And in the course of all this social media whizbang talk, Robert Tanenbaum from the Nats chimed in with thoughts on a different sort of medium.

"I want to do a shoutout for reality," Tanenbaum said. "I want to do a shoutout for coming to a baseball game, and looking at that green field glowing, and feeling the sun on your shoulders or your face. You're there with your son or your daughter or your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend, and you're eating popcorn and Cracker Jacks and all this [junk food]. And there are things that you don't get online. You're having a conversation with the person next door to you that you may not know, you're being welcomed with a hug by one of our ushers -- who are probably some of the nicest people in the world -- and you're sharing something that's in the air, not on a screen, not through your thumbs. You're living life. And that's what all this coverage is about. It flows from the real experience, and the real experience is a fan experience of bringing your family to a game."

So not only is it death to The Post; it's also death to screens and thumbs. More banana bread.

The media came up one more time, when the discussion turned to how sports can increase civility and improve the national discourse.

"Go read some of The Washington Post comments," Leonsis said. "You are a part of the dialog. You need to tone it down, too. You have a big role in what the community thinks, and in how the community interacts."

"So you do care?" someone joked.

"No, I care about what the fans are allowed to say, and what sounds like a threat or on occasion the vitriol that comes across," Leonsis said. "And when you saw what happened this weekend, it's indicative of where we are as a culture. I would like sports to be more about aspiration and competitiveness and goodness and happiness. It doesn't have to be evil intent, and it doesn't have to be filled with cursing and acts of violence and drunkenness and the like. We should celebrate all of the good things."

By Dan Steinberg  | January 11, 2011; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  Caps, Media, Nats, Redskins, Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. sports owners rooting for each other
Next: Snyder on maturing as an owner

Comments

Banana bread?

Posted by: chasedano@gmail.com | January 11, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I love Ted Leonsis, who is by far the best sports owner this city will every have. However, he seems to be suggesting that you more actively moderate the comments in your blogs and after your articles. I disagree. He seems to be responding to the Tucson shooting, implying that vigorous political free speech played some role in that. It did not; the shooter was an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic. The comment sections do harbor some obsessive malcontents regarding each local team. However, they are strongly self-policing in a sense, with other posters taking on that role.

Ted, the best answer to speech that you find objectionable is MORE speech, not less.

Posted by: pcalvert | January 11, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

as a five genreation washingtonian i have seen alot of things come and go with the sports media in this.city people who grew up here see most sports writers and recent residents as carpet bagers and transistants and pay them little mind with the exception o f maybe boswell , i think also where spolied by kindred, denlinger povich cook ,polin ect.

Posted by: rwest828hope | January 11, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Memo to Snyder: The fans can't stand you --they want you to sell the team as soon as possible.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone ask how 6 Flags or Johnny Rockets is doing?

Hahahaha

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

In the 24/7 show on the Caps we hear that Leonsis told Boudreau that he "hates" the Penguins, his star player calls the town "Sh--sburg" and the coach calls the Penguins "pr----" and Leonsis complains about the fans' vitriol? Yes, the kettle is black, isn't it Mr. Leonsis.

Posted by: LionelMandrake | January 11, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Instead, Snyder just buys the media...like he tries to buy everything else.

Posted by: Reignking | January 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis, you really need to ship that sorry azz GRUNFELD back to bagging groceries somewhere. We will never win with that buffoon in charge!! Trust me!

Posted by: iubiquity | January 11, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I will continue to hate Dan Snyder even if the Redskins deliver another Super Bowl during his ownership. As a life-long Skins fan, I feel a greater connection to one of the urinal cakes at FedExField than I do to him.

Posted by: wahoo2x | January 11, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 11, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

As if we needed it, Dan Snyder has provided us with even more evidence that he is a willfully ignorant ass.

Everyone hates you Dan. And it's not because your team doesn't win (though that doesn't help). It is because you are, without a doubt, a huge a-hole. You have singlehandedly ruined the relationship between your team and the city/region it represents. You have been an unrelenting failure. You are a disgrace.

Posted by: thediesel | January 11, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

So where is the follow-up? If Ted has a problem with cursing - why does he not have a problem with BB on HBO?

Posted by: CF11555 | January 11, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with Ted and Dan. Reading one of their team's web pages is like sitting through an advertisement. I don't want to hear what paid team employees have to say about the Redskins, Wizards or Capitals. I'd rather hear an (ostensibly) unbiased reporter weigh in.

And yes, there are some columnists who seem to always give the home team a hard time. Michael Wilbon comes immediately to mind. But he's offset by people like Tom Boswell-- the biggest homer this side of Larry Michael himself-- and Sally Jenkins, who has taken management's side in every incident to come out of Redskins Park this season.

The key is to get your news from multiple sources-- for the same reason that visiting specialty stores is better than doing all your shopping at WalMart.

Posted by: drischord | January 11, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how Leonsis paid employees cursed at and disparaged a whole city. I guess that is what jealous people lacking education do.

Stop by and see the Pirates WS trophies, the Penguins Stanley Cups and all the Steelers Super Bowl trophies.

Posted by: PensRule | January 11, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear Dan Snyder,

Please sell a majority ownership to Ted.

Signed,

Me

Posted by: bbirdy202 | January 11, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line...

Snyder has no good will stored up among fans, so he's gotta win to do that. having said that there are some members of the media who will hate him either way and will never give the Redskins a fair shake.

Posted by: rickyroge | January 11, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Nice quotes, Ted. What kind of Kool Aid was being served with the banana bread?

Posted by: imafan8 | January 11, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice quotes, Ted. What kind of Kool Aid was being served with the banana bread?

Posted by: imafan8 | January 11, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice quotes, Ted. What kind of Kool Aid was being served with the banana bread?

Posted by: imafan8 | January 11, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

He doesn't own either one anymore Dixon. Sig Flags is owned by some other folks, and they may be worse. They're dumped most of the stuff danny dumped a lot of money on for theming. Careful what you wish for...

BTW, I've always found that a well moderated forum is freer and has a much better chance of having a free exchange if opinion and information, rather than degernerating to anarchy.

Posted by: EricS2 | January 11, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Always amusing to see the level of vitriol directed at Dan Snyder no matter how innocuous the occasion. Snyder, from all we can tell, appears to be a good man who is badly, badly misunderstood.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how Leonsis paid employees cursed at and disparaged a whole city. I guess that is what jealous people lacking education do.

Stop by and see the Pirates WS trophies, the Penguins Stanley Cups and all the Steelers Super Bowl trophies.

Posted by: PensRule | January 11, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, didn't hear any cursing from the Penguins at all. Nary a disparaging word from Sid or Bylsma. Didn't see Crosby berate a ref with f bombs or Cooke threaten to knock someones teeth in. Not at all. Nothing but choir boys up there in Steeltown. Nice of you to stop by to see whats going on in DC sports...we know you guys are obsessed with us.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 11, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes Barno we get it, Dan gives tons of money to charity, sends kids to summer camp, bakes cookies for the homeless, etc. What you seem to not comprehend is that most (if not all) care more about the Redskins than him. They rooted for the 'Skins before he was owner and will continue to root while he is the owner and long after he has sold the team. His track record as an owner of the Redskins speaks for itself and that's what's important to most people. Sorry but that's how it is.

You could make your same argument for an owner just 30 mins up I-95. Peter Angelos gives tons of money to the city of Baltimore, to kids so they can go to college, (heck I think he actually paid the tuition of an entire class at law school), to kids so they can safely play in Baltimore. Great, good for him. But, as an owner of the Orioles he's been downright aweful and that's what most people care about.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 11, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Memo to Snyder: The fans can't stand you --they want you to sell the team as soon as possible.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM"
-->I love how everyone gets on Snyder's case and believe me I am no fan of his but I think it's gone too far. Owners get too much credit win or lose. Remember back in the early 90s, when Steinbrenner's banishment from baseball (didn't last too long) was cheered by the fans and those same fans were greatly mourning his death. If Snyder won a Super Bowl, all would be forgotten.

Posted by: break20 | January 11, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"Memo to Snyder: The fans can't stand you --they want you to sell the team as soon as possible.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM"
-->I love how everyone gets on Snyder's case and believe me I am no fan of his but I think it's gone too far. Owners get too much credit win or lose. Remember back in the early 90s, when Steinbrenner's banishment from baseball (didn't last too long) was cheered by the fans and those same fans were greatly mourning his death. If Snyder won a Super Bowl, all would be forgotten.

Posted by: break20 | January 11, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Memo to Snyder: The fans can't stand you --they want you to sell the team as soon as possible.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM"
-->I love how everyone gets on Snyder's case and believe me I am no fan of his but I think it's gone too far. Owners get too much credit win or lose. Remember back in the early 90s, when Steinbrenner's banishment from baseball (didn't last too long) was cheered by the fans and those same fans were greatly mourning his death. If Snyder won a Super Bowl, all would be forgotten.

Posted by: break20 | January 11, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Poopy/Dixon,

I can't argue with that...especially the part about Angelos. I was an Os fan growing up and he killed that team.

Let's end the beef man.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Yah, calling Pittsburgh by Sh:tsburgh is real nice and mature.

I also laugh that you all berate your only owner in DC who spends the money to get the best coaches and spends to the top of the cap. Yes, he doest win but the opposite is getting lousy coaches and spending to the league minimum like a few teams do and ending up winning almost no games.

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

I love Ted Leonsis...However, he seems to be suggesting that you more actively moderate the comments in your blog. Ted, the best answer to speech that you find objectionable is MORE speech, not less.

Posted by: pcalver

SUGGESTING? What happy meds are you on, man? pcalver, let's do some simple math. Here's what Ted said: "I get 40 to 90,000 people coming to my blog, depending on the subject." 90,000? Look at the number of comments on Ted's blog, to even the most commented upon Ted posts. Hmmm only a teeny tiny, eensy weensy fraction of 90,000 people comment? Really? Puh-lease.

Ted advocates for free exchange of information, ensures that his blog appears to be just that, and then edits out much of what people say. Duh. This can't be news to you.

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | January 11, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Whats up with you and bananas this week? First the Atlantic 11 (the finest local college basketball poll in the DC metro area) needs to be buried under mashed banana peels and now there is banana bread at the post event?? Is someone getting a kick-back from Chiquita?

Posted by: rockotodd | January 12, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

-->I love how everyone gets on Snyder's case and believe me I am no fan of his but I think it's gone too far. Owners get too much credit win or lose. Remember back in the early 90s, when Steinbrenner's banishment from baseball (didn't last too long) was cheered by the fans and those same fans were greatly mourning his death. If Snyder won a Super Bowl, all would be forgotten.
--------------------
Yes, a major reason the fans despise Dan Snyder is because he has turned a once-proud franchise into a perennial loser and refuses to sell the team despite his complete inability to run it. How is this not a valid reason to despise him?

"Everyone hates Dan Snyder because he screws over fans and has wrecked the franchise. But everyone would love him if he treated fans well and won Super Bowls!"

Posted by: theamazingmouse | January 12, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Ted "doesn't care" about The Post?!
the very fact he SAID that tells you he's still scared to death. I'll bet he's up early reading comments. Personally, I think he's a blowhard.

Posted by: heresthescoop | January 12, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Wait, drunkenness is not on the list with goodness and happiness?

Posted by: BobLHead | January 12, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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