Photo: Adam Jeffery/CNBC
Technology and the world around us is changing and evolving and the most successful sports owner in the DMV area is embracing these changes. Even though the newly named Capital One Arena will still be the same building that was once called the Verizon Center, things will look and feel quite different within and you can thank Ted Leonsis for that.
Leonsis is known to many as the owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards. But for those of us who follow sports regularly in this region, he is known for much more than that. In addition to owning TWO of the “Big Four” teams (Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, D.C. United) in D.C., Leonsis is the founder of Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE) and the owner of the Washington Mystics (WNBA), Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade (both are arena football teams).
Now think about that for a second. When one does the math, that’s FIVE professional sports teams he owns, plus a company that oversees them all. This could overwhelm some people, but not Mr. Leonsis. Now, Leonsis is turning to fans and patrons to enhance the gameday experience.
Yesterday when the news of the name change for Capital One Arena broke, Leonsis and MSE announced a separate, independent $40 million infusion into the same building with a different name. He gave more detail in his blog Ted’s Take.
“Part of this investment includes further developing cutting-edge technology that allows us to better serve our fans. Our new Monumental360 program, for example, will provide us with data that will give us a better understanding of our fans’ preferences and interests, which will allow us to deliver an improved and more personalized fan experience,” said Leonsis. “A new point-of-sale system will have many benefits and is designed to create a swifter, smoother experience in the arena. The new system also will allow us to do creative things like provide concession and merchandise discounts for those with a Capital One credit card.”
I’ve attended various sporting events throughout my lifetime. I’ve experienced both the good and not so good as far as fan experience is concerned. As a journalist, I don’t like to use the word fan to describe myself anymore, so I’ll just say from the outside looking in, it looks like it’s refreshing having an owner (of multiple teams even) not only listening to the fans, but using technology to learn their habits.
Same building, but different name and feel. That’s what’s coming this fall.
By Michael Marzzacco