SBD/July 20, 2012/Franchises

Capitals, Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis Talks Technology, Ticket Sales, Parity In The NBA

Leonsis addressed issues he faces, continues to face as owner of Caps and Wizards
Wizards and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis in a Q&A on Wednesday "addressed the issues he has faced and continues to face in running half of Washington's four major-revenue sports teams," according to Mike Wise of the WASHINGTON POST. Below are excerpts from the Q&A:

STAR-DRIVEN NBA?
Leonsis said there are "two big questions" facing the NBA: "Can teams win or is it just the three-star system that works in the NBA?" Leonsis said of the Wizards, "We have a great city, a great fan base, but we’re trying to become a ‘have team.’ And we’re not yet. We’re not a destination."

THE NEXT BIG THING: Leonsis: "We've made big investments on the analytic and the technology side. ... We’re also one of the few teams have installed this super heat-seeking missile cameras. ... We have these HD cameras. [A] Stanford kid does it for us. This thing creates real-time heat maps. Literally you can get down to the pixels on the floor. Where are the shots being taken, where are the shots being made, where are the picks being made.”

ARE WE THERE YET? Leonsis said he is the "first to admit I haven't broken the code yet." He added, "Until you win a championship, you can't have a definitive point of view. …We can't talk honestly, authentically about a championship until you say, 'We've improved. We've made the playoffs. Then, it's 'Oh we're in the playoffs and now how do we improve the team.' It's the third year of the rebuild (with the Wizards)."

STICK WITH WHAT WORKS: Wise noted Leonsis has not "fired a general manager yet." Leonsis replied, "I haven't had to yet. You have to look at the arc of the team. It's not just how the team is performing. It's how the fan base is performing. The Caps have 98 percent renewals. 98 percent. ... We raised prices. We sell out every game. … So the decisions have been empirical" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/19).
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