HoopsHype Ted Leonsis rumors

March 13, 2014 Updates
March 6, 2014 Updates

Coach Randy Wittman appears to be on the verge of guiding the Washington Wizards to the playoffs. And if the Wizards get there for the first time in six seasons, Wittman undoubtedly will receive praise. He’d rather receive a new contract. Wittman’s current one expires after the season. Although qualifying for the postseason would be a significant accomplishment for the franchise — especially considering the Wizards’ recent history — owner Ted Leonsis expects the Wizards to be a playoff team. Leonsis has set the bar high, and Wittman realizes he must clear it. Washington Post

January 22, 2014 Updates

Ted Leonsis has talked quite a bit about why his organization created the all-digital Monumental Network, and what that will mean for the Wizards’ and Capitals’ TV rights in the future. But that remains among the most important local sports business stories going, and every time he talks he adds a few details. Thus, here is Leonsis talking about the issue during a recent appearance at the University of Maryland’s Phillip Merrill College of Journalism and the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism. For his thoughts on dealing with official media partners, see here. Washington Post

January 13, 2014 Updates

"We have staff working all day today to make sure this issue doesn't occur again. Our staff worked very efficiently to identify where the leaks were. And we always have staff on hand that are experienced with issues such as this. We also literally had to get atop of the roof outside to see what the issues were. The big freeze this past week might have created a small fissure in roofing materials, and as the rain came on and some ice was melting, some water was able to seep in,"Ted Leonsis wrote on his personal blog. Ted's Take

November 14, 2013 Updates

It doesn’t take much to see why Washington’s Randy Wittman is the guy many see as the coach on the hottest seat. His team is 2-6 but with playoff aspirations. His star player is writing playoffs on his shoes every game (and shooting 37.9 percent). His team’s owner Ted Leonsis has talked playoffs a lot and said injuries are not an excuse. Leonsis has been a loyal and patient owner, but at some point that is going to end because he wants to win, too. On top of it all the Wizards’ veteran players are frustrated with the younger ones. NBCSports.com

Ted Leonsis on his favorite part of ownership: “It’s the fan interaction. I’ve probably exchanged half a million emails. …I’m an extrovert by nature, and I get a lot of energy from that. It’s absolutely amazing. … People will come up to me in a mall or a restaurant and say, ‘Do you remember me? I sent you an email in 1999.’ The passion and enthusiasm fans entrust in you is like no other business.” Sports Business Daily

Then downside of ownership: “In sports, there’s one winner and 29 losers. The assets, from a business standpoint (of the teams I own), have dramatically increased in value … but we haven’t won a Stanley Cup or NBA championship, so I’m a failure. That’s what this business is about. One winner and 29 losers.” Sports Business Daily

Leonsis said his long-term goal is to turn the broadband network behind the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics into a production house with “the ability to show something in our arena, in real time, in all the televisions in the arena and outside on the signs and in those virtual screens on everyone’s site and everyone’s phone.” Leonsis would like to see it broadcasting concerts, and professional, college and high school sports games that take place at the Verizon Center. “We can look at all of that as ancillary opportunity for us,” Leonsis said. The Wizards and Capitals both have long-term rights deals with Comcast Sports Net. The Wizards have seven years left on their deal. The Capitals have three. Leonsis said that he envisions doing one of three things with those rights when they become available. “One would be that we would partner in a big way with Comcast,” Leonsis said. “I certainly believe we should have ownership in that network and a large voice in the programming of that network because we know our fans and our community extremely well. Or we would launch our own network, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Network, or we’ll partner with some other sports network.” Sports Business Daily

November 12, 2013 Updates
October 7, 2013 Updates

"I'm tired of losing. It's not a lot of fun coming to games knowing, 'This is going to be a tough night.' We're just at that point now, it's the fourth year, we've retained our players, we've added players, we've spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. I think our fan base expects that too and that's the pressure I've placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans -- and it's time." -- Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, to local reporters, throwing down the gauntlet for his team to improve upon its dismal showings of the last few years. Both general manager Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman are entering the final years of their respective contracts. NBA.com

“We played three kids,” Leonsis said, talking about Washington’s first game of the season. “People talk about how the team is aging. We have the eighth-youngest team in the league. I like when we interject some of the new kids into the lineup….We’re healthy, and my expectation is that this is the deepest team since I’ve owned the team. I don’t see any weaknesses, and I see that we’re prepared for injury. I mean, that’s one of the things in sports that sometimes we under estimate: injuries happen, your second-line guy, your third-line guy. Washington Post

October 5, 2013 Updates

“I’m tired of losing,” Leonsis said. “It’s not a lot of fun coming to games knowing, ‘This is going to be a tough night.’ We’re just at that point now, it’s the fourth year, we’ve retained our players, we’ve added players, we’ve spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. I think our fan base expects that too and that’s the pressure I’ve placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans – and it’s time.” Washington Post

He doesn't want to hear any apologies for his team not qualifying for the playoffs, despite Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) being out indefinitely and Chris Singleton (left toe/foot surgery) on the shelf for almost two months. He wants results. "We have 13 healthy players and the one thing I'm not allowing anybody to do is use injuries as an excuse," Leonsis said at a news conference. "We have 15 players under contract. Two can't start the season. That means we have 13. That's all you can dress anyway. "Last year, there was a pass given. We didn't have Nene and John Wall, our two best players. Understandable." CSNWashington.com

"The fan base's expectation is that we're going to have a better team. I think everybody looks at our team and the other teams in the East and say we should be a team, if we play to our capabilities, be one the teams that qualify for the playoffs. So the fans are setting that expectation. And I'm tired of losing. It's not a lot of fun coming to games knowing this is going to be a tough night. We're just at that point now. It's the fourth year. "We've retained our players. We've added a lot of players. We've spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. …That's the pressure I've placed on the organization." CSNWashington.com

August 2, 2013 Updates
August 1, 2013 Updates

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