SBD/February 8, 2013/Media

Leonsis: Wizards, Capitals In The Future Would Like To Own A Network

Leonsis said that one of the best ways for a team to grow revenue is hatch a new RSN
Wizards and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis on Wednesday discussed the recently launched Monumental Network that airs programming related to the teams and DC-area arenas operated by Leonsis’ company, including the Capitals, Wizards, WNBA Mystics and Verizon Center. Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman said Leonsis’ focus is on "finding new homes to make money tied to these sports teams," whether it’s online or acquiring TV rights. Leonsis said, “Everyone who owns a sports team, and especially those who own multiple sports teams, has to look at what is the way they can grow their revenue and be competitive.” That includes generating "more media dollars.” Leonsis: “One of the ways to do that is to launch and own or own a part of your own network. Today, we sell our rights to Comcast SportsNet, and they’re great partners. (But) one day, yes, we would like to own a network or be partners in a network and be able to share in the upside. Sports programming is proving its value in this new media landscape.” Leonsis said sports programming has “helped prop up the whole cable industry and so people that own the actual content are looking to find ways to unlock that value” Leonsis: “Monumental Network is a way for us (to unlock that value)” (“Bloomberg West,” Bloomberg TV, 2/6).

SHIFTING TIDES: In DC, Dan Steinberg notes ESPN Radio 980 DC, which is owned by Redskins Owner Dan Snyder, “spent several segments on Wednesday asking if Ted Leonsis gets a free pass" in DC, and many listeners “seemed to agree that he does.” Radio host Kevin Sheehan asked, “Does he get a free pass, when you consider the two franchises that he owns and their recent performances? First, the Caps having the worst record in the NHL as we speak, never having been beyond the second round in the playoffs since Ted bought the team. The Wizards currently with the second-worst record in the league, they had the second-worst record in the league last year, they haven’t sniffed the postseason for several years and they’re not gonna sniff it this year.” Host Thom Loverro said, “The bloom is starting to come off the rose with Ted. I’m sensing much more of a sense of anger out there.” He added, “The lack of transparency with the Wizards, and his indifference to the fans that have spent decades of frustration with this team is just accentuating what’s becoming a wave of negative feelings towards him” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/7).
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