Ted Leonsis

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has been the target of criticism since he was named a “hardliner” during the NHL lockout. We’ve observed the decline in his prestige, documented some fan protests, and even proffered a scheme to repair relations with the fans. Addressing the media at Thursday’s Caps Fan Appreciation Night at Verizon Center, Leonsis finally had the chance to discuss his role in the lockout, and he amiably rejected the hardliner label ascribed to him.

Regarding the “hardliner” claim, Leonsis laughs it off. He cites an opposing negotiator who called him “Uncle Ted” and says Leonsis was “really nice” during the talks. To Leonsis, the league and the union were the main parties in the discussion, and his role was more as a proxy.

Leonsis states that his main interests in the negotiations were a 50/50 revenue split and a long-term deal. He got both of those things. So…  was it worth it?

Leonsis has every right to try to make his business profitable. He says he’s never made “a penny of profit” from owning the team, and that is certainly damn good motivation to make a change.

If this is truly the time for reconciliation, then I guess we have to root for Leonsis to make some money, considering that his business has already brought so much positive externality* to the community.

So I ask again: Bygones?

* And yes, I did just use positive externality in an article about hockey. If I can work in bespoke by the trade deadline, Ian has to buy me Qdoba.

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  • blbean

    Sorry, not buying it Ted. Paper losses IMO. The Caps have “losses” because of how you have them set up. They are their own entity. So when they pay rent to the Verizon Center, the Caps mark that in the loss category. Monument Sports (majority owned by Ted of course) PROFITS from that money. Right hand claims poor while the left hand rolls money to the bank.

  • There is a lot of passion in this hockey organization, that’s the only thing I’ll believe.

  • Livia

    I wonder on what points he yielded to the union. He’s listed only what concessions he helped to win for the league.

  • Catherine

    Nope, no bygones. It will take waaaaayamore than free hot dogs and utter lies to get me back. He *maybe* “hasn’t made a profit” from the Caps, but look at the arena, naive fools.

  • The Peerless

    I believe the salary cap will be adjusted downward in the following years, and if that is correct there will be even more shedding of salaries as teams look at ways of downsizing. We have done our downsizing, and we are only looking at ways to add to our team. [We will continue to lose money, but this is a] gentleman’s loss.”
    — August 10, 2005, Associated Press

    “From an economic standpoint, the league is much healthier, so as you grow your revenues you can proportionately grow your payrolls. The business model has been right-sized. We are not stressed now about the economics. Now we have to go about reselling the game. [The team will lose $5 million this year, but these are] gentleman’s losses.”
    — October 1, 2005, The Washington Post

    “…with a $25 million payroll, our team will still lose money, but in the vernacular those losses will be considered a ‘gentleman’s loss.’ As a league, we will have less TV revenue, and locally I don’t think we can expect to increase our ticket revenue. However, our ticket prices are going down even more. That price reduction may help attendance, but we don’t anticipate it helping overall revenues.”
    — August 8, 2005, “Owner’s Corner”

    Just sayin…

  • Ben Reed

    He bought the team for around $75 million. It’s now worth $250 million.

    So, no. No bygones. On the contrary, I’m calling bullshit.

    To say nothing of the fact that this “lockout” resulted completely and entirely from the owners’ own failures (at the last CBA, and of self-control). And his use of deflective, meaningless language insults my intelligence. Oh, “the lockout was between the league and the players,” you say? Well, I guess the owners weren’t involved after all! Thanks for clarifying.

    This little publicity tour is a reincarnation of his PR strategy of transparency. So he does it better than most owners. Doesn’t make him any less of a jackass.

  • Yeaaah Economics lol.

  • Kate

    What a liar. How stupid does he think people are? Greedy jackass. He’s crying poor so he can charge more. Do us all a favor and sell the team to someone who actually likes the sport. If Ted is losing money with the Caps, I hate to see what the Wizards are costing him. More of his greediness, he’s not happy with one sports team, he has to have two.