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SBD/January 18, 2013/NHL Season Preview
Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis Happy With New NHL CBA; Downplays His Role In Negotiations
Published January 18, 2013
LOOKING FOR A BETTER DEAL: Leonsis said that of the approximate 14,500 Capitals season-ticket holders, the team "lost roughly 70 accounts or 150 seats to cancellations during the lockout." He "thanked Capitals fans for their loyalty and apologized that the process resulted in the loss of games." Leonsis noted that the Capitals "received revenue sharing under the previous agreement and will continue to under the new deal," though he hopes that the team "will some day pay into the revenue sharing system, rather than draw from it." Leonsis: “I would like to be a payer. I don’t consider us a small-market team." He added that the Capitals will "need to sign a more lucrative television rights contract once their current deal expires." Leonsis: “How we’ll make our money is not through continuing to raise ticket prices. It’ll be getting a better TV deal and unfortunately I still have several years, three, four years left on our contract. ... If we can get a dramatic step up in the TV deal, then we would be a payer. That would be fine with me" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/17).
OLYMPIC APPROVAL: Leonsis on Thursday said that the Capitals "will allow Alex Ovechkin to take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, regardless of whether the NHL permits all of its players to participate in the games." Ovechkin multiple times has said that he "intends to play in his home country" and Leonsis "doesn't intend to stand in the star winger's way." He said, “It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him to have something played in Russia. He’s going to be a torchbearer and it’s very important to him and his family. Who am I to get in the way of him wanting to fulfill that? And I know that’s a slippery slope because if Nick (Backstrom) says then he wants to play for Sweden, we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. But I think that I’m going to lean to the side of the players in that one" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/17).