If this were a 7 game playoff, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is probably looking at a hard-fought, 2-2 tied series now. The funny thing is, it’s outside (even if it includes) Verizon Center, but the strategy and passion is nothing short of what happens on the ice in the arena.
Leonsis and Lincoln Holdings, his investor group, are negotiating to buy the 56 percent of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and Verizon Center they don’t own, being put for sale by the late Abe Pollin’s estate. Per an agreement when Leonsis purchased the Capitals from Pollin 10 years ago, the group now has multiple rights in terms of purchasing the team and arena. For all the details of the process check out Thomas Heath’s Washington Post article HERE.
The legal and business aspects are important, but as a fan I’m more excited about Leonsis potentially doing for the Wizards what he has done for the Caps. Mr. Pollin was a great, generous and loyal man, but I think Ted has him in the successful sports team ownership department.
Leonsis has not been perfect, but the important thing is he has learned from his mistakes. I was as excited as anyone when the Capitals traded for Jaromir Jagr – and the moody Czech showed ownership and the fan base how silly they were to think he could do it by himself. But luckily, losses were cut and the house cleaning began. A strict new plan was put in place by Leonsis, team president Dick Patrick, and GM George McPhee to build the franchise with stronger roots, even if it meant a bottom dweller for a few seasons.
After some very lean years, where the scalpers on F Street almost offered the fans money to take their tickets from them, time healed the wounds and the team was built into a winner through the draft. Still no Stanley Cup yet, but at least it seems that will be a realistic goal for years to come (with hopefully the first arriving this spring).
Now I want to see that same process put in place for the Wizards. I’ve grown to care less and less about the NBA, but if Lincoln Holdings takes the reigns I’m likely to start paying attention again.
Until that time, I’ll pay close attention to the arbiters and also hope there’s some chance Peter Angelos loses a bet or just decides to sell the Orioles to Leonsis as well.