The Post's Thomas Heath examined some of the alterations Ted Leonsis and the new framework of Monumental Sports and Entertainment has made since buying the Washington Wizards and the long-term goals for the company. An excerpt follows:
Ted Leonsis assumed ownership of one of the NBA's most woeful franchises when he bought the Washington Wizards last June from the estate of the late sports entrepreneur Abe Pollin.
Six months later, Leonsis, who served loyally as Pollin's minority partner for more than a decade, is integrating Pollin's assets into Monumental Sports & Entertainment -- and building what he says is an enterprise nearing $1 billion in value, one he hopes one day will rival New York's Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles' Staples Center as a dominant regional sports enterprise.
The former AOL mogul already has made hundreds of decisions designed to change the Wizards from a money loser ($12 million in fiscal 2009) into one of the NBA's high-performing and most profitable franchises, boosting the value of the Verizon Center in the process.
There are obvious changes, such as installing cupholders in the bathroom and sending concession vendors into the stands. Then there are not-so-obvious changes, such as reorganizing the ticket and sponsorship sales staffs, hiring a new head of security and remodeling an owners' club for high-rollers.
"We've had a major cultural shift from being an insulated executive team to being an executive team that really, really feels it's in service to customers, who give us their time and a lot of money," said Leonsis, who has instituted a concierge service for his top-paying customers. "It's the way we are treating our very best customers, the amount of communications, services we offer, access they have to me. We wine them and dine them every day."