MSE's Ted Leonsis Believes Leagues Will Return Using "Bubble" Cities
Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO Ted Leonsis said that he "believes when the NBA, NHL and WNBA seasons resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, it will happen in host cities rather than in every team’s home arena," according to Matthew Paras of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Leonsis said that he is "optimistic for the leagues to start up again, but added it would have to do so without fans." Leonsis: "We will try to create a safe haven, a bubble where the players and the NHL would pick a couple of arenas in North America, maybe a couple in Canada, and just put 40 or 50 people in each organization in a hotel, and then shuttle them to the arena, test them very often and just make sure that we can play the games and get to the playoffs. Not only do we owe the programming to the networks, but we owe it to our fans, and you’d like to be able to compete for the Stanley Cup and not have an asterisk" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/19).
TIME TO GET IT RIGHT: Leonsis said that "leagues 'need to be very, very cognizant' of helping their broadcast partners, such as Turner, Disney and ESPN, which rely heavily on sports programming, and did not offer a timetable for a potential return." He added, “We have a lot of time to do it. There really isn’t the stress of when would a next season start, and so we get a chance to do our planning and create the protocols that really will maximize the safety for our players.” Leonsis noted that the defending WNBA champion Washington Mystics were scheduled to open the season against the L.A. Sparks at Entertainment and Sports Arena on Saturday and said, “We had to have a virtual celebration with our fans on some of the social media channels" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/19).