Ask the Owner
Capitals, Mystics and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis speaks to WTOP's Bruce Alan
WASHINGTON -- Capitals, Mystics and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was on WTOP's "Ask the Owner" with Bruce Alan on Monday.
Leonsis discussed the new Washington Capitals season and what he expects this year.
Following last season's playoffs rout at the hands of Tampa Bay, Alex Ovechkin called him directly -- a rare occurrence for Leonsis who says he values hierarchy in sports teams. The team captain told the owner he planned to train hard in the off-season and arrive back to training ready to go "out of the gate."
That focus has inspired other members of the young team, Leonsis says, for whom the "seriousness" is "ramping up."
A Winter Classic would be great for the D.C., he says, for both fans and local commerce, but almost all of the planning is left up to the league. Leonsis also expressed his "disappointment" with the way head coach Bruce Boudreau's conduct was portrayed in HBO's "24/7," depicting the leadup to last season's Winter Classic in Pittsburgh.
Leonsis also discussed fans concerns at the Verizon Center, including security and concessions. He says he hopes fans will be able to order food from their seats using their smartphones in the future.
#ICYMI: Check out the full audio at right and this live blog, including what owner had to say about potentially purchasing the Redskins, and the idea of changing the Wizards back to the "Bullets":
10:56 a.m.: I was disappointed by that. HBO are among the world's greatest storytellers. If you're trying to tell a story, you edit it the way you want. The story was the Caps were imploding and we were losing a lot of games. I know a little about editing; one team gets the piano music and is shot during the day, the other team gets the organ music and is shot at night.
Then the game was played and we won. We didn't follow the script and the storytellers didn't know what to do with that.
The good news is it was breakthrough television. The fans were treated to things that even I didn't see. It was great entertaining theater and won lots of Emmy awards. I'm glad we're not doing it again, now.
10:54 a.m.: I think the first "deliverable" as an owner is to make sure fans are safe. I've had several meetings with the mayor's staff, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to make sure any security threat is front-and-center.
I know how importantly people have to take security. If people don't feel safe, they won't come to games. It's paramount in itself, but also important for business.
Verizon Center is in the greatest neighborhood right now. We're integral to the economic success of the community.
10:47 a.m., speaking about potentially buying the Redskins:
Dan Snyder's a friend and Dan owns the team. If someone asked him if he'd buy the Caps or Wizards, I'd be hurt. I have a handful with the teams I own, and I'm focused on making them better for the fans.
I'm focused on keeping our fans really, really happy, and winning a championship for one of my teams.
10:46 a.m., speaking about the Penguins' Sidney Crosby's injury:
We have to be responsible to these players, not just while they play but after. We have to be considerate to these people's lives.
10:44 a.m., speaking about competitive teams:
We have to be respectful of every team. Boston won the Stanley Cup last year. Pittsburgh is unbelievably tough. Tampa has to be the team to beat in the southeast division. We have to play every game with focus and not looking ahead or believing anything anybody says about every team.
Each team has taken on new characteristics. Florida has something like 15 new players. Are they going to be great, or not mesh? Every team deserves respect.
10:42 a.m., speaking about realignment in the NHL to four divisions in two conferences:
There are still a lot of discussions to take place. We'll be good soldiers, and for the most part, we'll agree with what the league has to do. I'd prefer not to play out of time-zone in our own division.
The move from Atlanta to Winnipeg (the newly formed Jets) is a long move. I watched the game last night, and it gave me chills. Hockey hasn't been played there in a long time. It's a great thing to bring hockey to Canada, but the league has to take very seriously issues like time changes and travel.