HoopsHype Ted Leonsis rumors

February 7, 2013 Updates

My first reaction to seeing Ted Leonsis’s recent appearance on Bloomberg TV was holy wow, he’s lost a lot of weight. You can’t really do an entire blog post based on images of someone’s torso, though — well, unless it’s Alex Ovechkin, or John Wall, or Rex Grossman. So let’s move on to what Leonsis was actually discussing, which was his continuing push toward at least partial ownership of a sports network. “I think everyone who owns a sports team, and especially those who own multiple sports teams, has to look at what is the way that they can grow their revenue and be competitive on the ice or on the court, and that’s to generate more media dollars,” Leonsis said. “And one of the ways to do that is to launch and own, or own a part of, your own network. Washington Post

“Local and social and mobile is the fastest growing segment of the internet media market,” Leonsis later said. “If you just look at your own wallet, where you write checks to and send your money to, about 80 percent of your wallet is spent within 20 miles from your home. Sports teams and arenas, we activate a lot of that local spending and time online and interest. “And what we want to be able to do is create media properties, so that as you’re going to the game, if you’re watching the game on television, we can provide you data and information and services about your city, about sports, about youth hockey, about youth baskestball, about college basketball, college hockey, so that we can get more and more of your time,” Leonsis said. “And by creating it and being optimized for social and for mobile – in fact, in our first two weeks, almost half of our traffic was generated either from Twitter or Facebook, or from a mobile device. So we’re already seeing great traction through those venues.” Washington Post

January 31, 2013 Updates

Ok, ok, ok, last bit of transcription from Ted Leonsis’s Wednesday morning appearance on WTOP’s Ask the Owner segment. (Listen here.) Wednesday, I mostly concentrated on his comments about the Caps. So for all you Wizards lovers out there (I see you! Over there! Hiding in the corner!), here are Leonsis’s thoughts on this season, which has been completely ruined by that disastrous start. “You can communicate to the fans and say nobody can plan for the loss of five of eight players, especially when you’re in the midst of a rebuild,” the owner said. “We weren’t a veteran team to begin with, that had a strong foundation. But no one wants to hear that. And so, as you communicate that, really it sounds like spin and hype and justification for starting 0-12. We didn’t win a game in our first dozen games. And the fans, they’re bottom-line oriented. They want you to win. And again, I apologize. There’s nothing we can do about that one.” Washington Post

January 30, 2013 Updates

“There’s a new ticketing system this year, which I understood did work better in succeeding games, but the first game at home turned out to be somewhat of a disaster for the digital ticketing….” the WTOP host began. “That’s not true,” Leonsis said. “It was a very cold night, that opening night. And we had two things that were going on. One was a security system. Across the league, we’re taking security much more diligently, and it starts at entering the building, and so we’re wanding people. That was really the major issue. And it was cold. Washington Post

January 24, 2013 Updates

So, what is a realistic goal moving forward, a benchmark for something other than failure? Leonsis recently suggested it was a .500 mark. “I really want to see what the team can do,” he told WRC’s Dan Hellie last week, on the day of the Caps’ open practice at Verizon Center. “And we obviously have to add to the team, bring more talent in. We can do that through the draft, we can do that through trades and free agency. “I did think we could compete and be a .500 kind of team, and if we had played .500 we’d be in the playoffs right now, or at least the playoff hunt. So I’d like to see us play .500, playoff-caliber like basketball for the next 45 games, 48 games, whatever’s left this year, and just see what we’ve got. Washington Post

December 15, 2012 Updates
December 12, 2012 Updates

The Washington Wizards turned down a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for James Harden this summer because team owner Ted Leonsis was unwilling to commit to what would have been a roughly $80 million, five-year contract for the high-scoring player, according to multiple people with knowledge of the proposed deal. Washington Post

Leonsis, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and Thunder General Manager Sam Presti all declined comment when asked about the proposed trade. One Wizards official denied that Oklahoma City had offered Harden in exchange for Beal and Singleton, stating that the Thunder was also seeking an established player — which the Wizards didn’t have — in return. “That’s not true,” the official said about the proposed deal. Washington Post

December 3, 2012 Updates

Ted Leonsis: Frankly, more than half our team is now made up of seasoned and complementary playing vets. We have seven new vets in our lineup this season as well. And Cartier Martin, who has played with our team before. People advocate for change, and sometimes having so much change at a time when you also have core players out with injuries makes for a very tough start to a season. I am supportive of our young players, and will continue to advocate that we build around a core of players that we have drafted and developed. We have made trades to add the vets. We have done some free agent signings. What we haven’t done is wade into free agency to add a big star to our team. Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis: Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza are best situated in a running, fast-paced offense. We have now had to slow down play without John Wall in the lineup, and we are asking players to play half court sets. This is a miss -match for their specific skill sets. Jan Vesely is in his second year of development. You always support a young, talented player, who is 7 feet tall, can run and is fundamentally sound. Jan has our support, and is working hard to develop his all-around game. But this is his second year in the NBA, and he is playing without a starting point guard who can push the pace of play. We shouldn’t be so fast to write him off as a player. This is easy to do in media but not something that is smart to do for our franchise. I support Jan Vesely. Ted Leonsis

November 28, 2012 Updates

Fisher also asked the owner if franchises/leagues can take actions that are so alienating as to cause lasting damage to a fanbase. “I can’t speak for other sports franchises, but I empathize with a fan’s disappointment when a team doesn’t win,” Leonsis responded. “I’m a fan too. But we are acutely focused on first-class customer service and providing a best-in-class game experience at Verizon Center. Fans devote their time and money – and occasionally their pixels – and our entire organization recognizes and appreciates their commitment.” Washington Post

And Fisher also asked if sports fans can actually increase their attachment to a team during bad times, thus making the eventual good times even more enjoyable. “Sports fans, just like most endeavors in life, want to be part of the winning,” Leonsis responded. “When you are on the ground floor and eventually see your thought, idea, company or team start to gain momentum, it feels great. There is a romance associated to sticking with a team through its tough times, and when that team begins to have success, you feel a sense of gratification – or at least that has been my personal experience.” Washington Post

November 27, 2012 Updates
October 9, 2012 Updates

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.