SBD/September 18, 2013/Franchises

Leonsis Says Washington Post's Coverage Of Capitals Led Him To Join Media Fray

Leonsis started his own blog in order to directly communicate his feelings to fans
Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis said it was the Washington Post's lack of coverage that was the impetus behind why he and the NHL club "overhauled the local sports media landscape" in DC, according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis, speaking at a Newseum panel on the future of media, made his comments after he was asked "about how he’s no longer just a sports franchise owner, but also a media mogul." He responded to that notion, "I have said on a number of occasions, The Post forced me into that position. I bought a hockey team, and attendance was really bad, and we’d make news, and there’d be one reporter who’d come from the Washington Post. And The Post basically decided what was important, what got coverage. And they did their best. And I had to take into my own hands coverage. So the first thing I did was say, ‘Well, let’s activate a blogosphere.' ... And now when we have a press event, there’s literally more than 200 people that cover us -- national, local, global. The blogosphere boomed. And now The Washington Post is a voice." He added, "I was forced to do my own blog so that I could control the algorithm. And you’ll see, we push traffic back and forth from my blog to Monumental Sports to the Washington Caps and the like, so that we control the algorithm, so we control the traffic and the page views. And that also generates page views where we can sell advertising." Leonsis said of his relationship with the Post, “I would say cover my team. And I’d hear back, ‘Well, we can only afford one reporter, and we believe we will set the agenda that this is where hockey -- just using one example -- fits on the landscape.’ And I didn’t want to hear that as an answer" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/17).
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