Ted Leonsis Addresses Lockout In Season-Ticket Holder Email

Leonsis and Bettman attend a screening of ‘Nanking’ back in 2007. (Photo credit: Brad Barket)

On Wednesday, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr exchanged new proposals to once again try and avoid a lockout. The NHL sweetened its offer to players, proposing a new six-year deal that would initially give the NHLPA 49% of all hockey revenue (down from 57%) and not force a rollback of salaries. The NHLPA countered with a deal that would start them off at 54.3%, and which over time would drop their slice of the pie to 52.7%. Bettman is also threatening to take the NHL’s current proposal completely off the table if it’s not signed by Saturday.

There have been no new developments since then, however, and the actual signing of a new CBA before midnight on Saturday still seems unlikely. So in that vein, Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis sent out an email to the Caps season ticket holder base early Thursday evening explaining protocol on what would happen if there is a work stoppage and declaring “that the NHL’s priority is to reach an agreement with the players.”

The full text of the email is below.

Dear [Season Ticket Holder],

As you know, the National Hockey League and the Players’ Association are in the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires Sept. 15, and while we hope to successfully reach an agreement by that date, there remains the possibility that negotiations for a successor agreement will not be concluded and a work stoppage may ensue. If that happens, training camps may not open on time and games may be cancelled. If that occurs, we have adopted a set of policies and procedures regarding your season-ticket holder account.

Obviously we will not charge your account for any NHL game, preseason or regular season, that is not played. If an agreement is not reached by Sept. 15, we will suspend our monthly payment plan and your account will not be charged until further notice. In appreciation of your continued support and loyalty we would like to provide you with a 1% APR interest on the funds you have on account related to games that are not played. In the days ahead you will receive additional information that goes into greater detail regarding the interest and refund policy.

I want to assure you that the NHL’s priority is to reach an agreement with the players. We all want to talk about exciting games, upcoming opponents and great plays, not the nuances of labor negotiation. We get it – and I empathize with you.

All of us at the Capitals appreciate your support and the passion you bring to Verizon Center. In a few short years you have turned our arena into one of the best and loudest buildings in the NHL. We all appreciate your loyalty, and I hope to see you all very soon at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Verizon Center.

With my appreciation and gratitude,
Ted Leonsis

With only two full days left in negotiations, it’s not looking too good.

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  • KMK

    I was actually pretty happy to receive that message because it was a conversation I wasn’t looking forward to having with my ticket rep.

  • Tim

    I know how to save the season! They can get replacement players! But not just any replacement players, the replacement refs from the NFL referee lockout!

  • jennrubenstein

    as a redskins season ticketholder, had i received an email last year like the one i got today – nay, ANY communication whatsoever – i would have shit my pants and passed out simultaneously. thanks, uncle ted. hope everything is settled soon. until then… playing meaningful baseball in september for the first time in ever is going to have to hold us over

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  • Walter

    Ted has to be worried–a lockout just as the Caps are finally becoming mainstream in DC. The owners may get the deal they want, but they will look back and regret killing the momentum that the NHL has built over the past few years.

  • Rob

    Sorry Teddy boy, this is not a WORK STOPPAGE…….its a LOCKOUT, you and your other greddy ass owners don’t want to go with a system that THE OWNERS WANTED 7 years ago, and now it does not work for you? Maybe if you did not have an owner throwing around 2 13 year 98 million dollar contracts on the same day, there would not be a problem……. what your really tring to do, is protect yourselfs, from yourselfs…….

  • DCRedMachine

    Did other owners send the same note to STHs? Just curious if this is a negotiation tactic by the owners.

  • Dio

    Blue Jackets sent out a similar email if the lockout does happen. It didn’t have specifics but that we would receive further information after it happens.

  • I can’t think of too many occupations where an 18 yr. old boy can pull in a 7 digit income with or without school. Both sides need to realize a lockout will hurt this sport quite possibily to the brink of no return.

  • Bettman Must Go!

    Don’t let Jacobs/Snider/et al drive this bus off a cliff! The owners are PATHETIC for this latest cash grab. What kind of world do you live in where you give out these lavish contracts and then reneg and STEAL MONEY back off a deal YOU signed in supposedly good faith?? Are you kidding me?? This league is a cash cow for many teams and the players are trying to help save you from yourselves, with legitimate suggestions to help ALL 30 teams be successful, yet you allow Bettman to stonewall the progress with a self-imposed BS lockout date. Shame on you and the rest of the hardline owners for taking away the greatest game on Earth from the most abused and ignored group in this transaction, we the fans.

  • Bettman Must Go!

    And by the way, gee thanks for the 1% APR kickback/bribe. My math may be off but I think that amounts to something like a whopping…..$4, based on my $5000 season ticket account! Maybe I can buy 1/2 a puck in the pro shop! Here’s an idea, how about you give the season ticket holders 24% off my rate, and maybe give me another 24% refund in 7 years? Sounds fair to me. Don’t mind that little detail we refer to as my season ticket contract.

  • Bettman Must Go!

    Rock The Lock(out)!

  • Greg

    Ted you and the other greedy pathetic owners should be ashamed of yourself – once again you havent learned your lesson. Did you like seeing the Verizon Center 1/3rd full in 2005? Bunch of billionaires squabbling with millionaires playing a kids game while you keep the rest of us and our money held hostage. I didnt see you mention in your letter any option that I can get a refund on all the money Ive spent so far on this years seasons tickets. 1 percent interest? Pretty insultng. Id rather use my money on the Nationals. ll give you until opening night – if no hockey – I want my money back you lose a 10 year season ticket holder and you and your team can go take a hike. You can fill my seat with that supposed 3,000 fan waiting list. Its football and baseball season too -do you think most Americns are going to really care there is no hockey -they didnt in 04-05. Your going to destroy all thats been built up in the NHLs favor the last few years – for what?.

  • JEFF

    You and your colleagues are making me a Don Fehr fan, something I thought would never happen. I actually expected a little more leadership from you, but you seem to have ceded the leader’s mantle to Ed Snider and the other hawks in ownership. I have been a Caps season ticket holder since 1974, but you and your friends are surely testing me now.

  • NovaCath

    He is one of the owners on the committee. He had the ability to actually do something to have gotten a new CBA before tonight. The CBA expires tonight and NO meetings are scheduled for today and I am supposed to believe him when he says that he wants to see us soon. He better start praying that his cash cow, Ovechkin, doesn’t get injured if he plays in Russia and he better be voting to allow players to participate in the next Olympics.

  • Mike L

    The young guns are getting another year older. I hope this team gets lapped by the Hurricanes this year and a few thousand empty seats double as STH each night.

  • Not Again, Ted!

    Pathetic, Ted – Just Pathetic. If this is how you run your business, I’m not interested in purchasing your product.

  • Mike Y

    How can the Buffalo Sabres offer their STH’s 4% interest on the funds they hold yet the Caps only offer 1%? My season tickets have almost doubled in less than 3 years. Baseball lost me as a fan during their last lockout. Football almost lost me but started the season before any real damage was done. NBA – could care less. NHL – 4 times in 20 years? Come on! The owners give these enormous contracts and the cry the system is not fair? Hard to believe. Frankly, I hope the players don’t cave BEFORE the Winter Classic. Just when the NHL is starting to build a bigger fan base (and by the looks of $3.3 BILLION DOLLARS in revenue that seems to be a fact) the owners and Commissioner lockout the players (AGAIN). No matter, the owners and players have at least a week to get a deal done so the season starts as scheduled. If not, consider me gone as well. And that also means no buying merchandise, NHL package on TV, etc. Money and time better spent elsewhere.

  • this guy

    so did terrible TED direct any info to single game ticket holders?

  • BigMacMark


    We have spoken before. I used to work in Dan Snyder’s
    skybox as a bartender and he treated me poorly. You in turn invited me to
    your booth and were a great host and stand-up guy. I really like you as
    an owner, philanthropist and person. I cannot however support the team if
    a single game is cancelled off the regular schedule. It seems that
    money and revenue are what motivates the players and the owners in this
    standoff and I understand it is a business but I want you to know that I will not
    contribute revenue to the NHL and the Washington Capitals if you cannot agree
    on terms and you sacrifice the quality of the season over a financial
    dispute. I can’t imagine if the Capitals finally get a Stanley Cup and
    there is an asterisk because of a shortened season. Please do what you
    can to resolve your differences now. If you do not you will lose this fan
    and my revenue (about 10 games a year live plus all home playoff games and I
    watch every single game on TV) for at least one year, maybe longer.
    Thought you might want to know where one fan stands.


    Mark Maguire