I got into a pleasant little discussion with some of my readers earlier Wednesday about whether local media members are too passive toward Ted Leonsis, and whether things like his “Ask the Owner” appearances on WTOP are worthwhile or a self-aggrandizing waste of time. (See the comments here.)
Now, admittedly, most of the questions Leonsis was asked on WTOP this week were not particularly hard-hitting, and there weren’t a whole lot of follow-ups. (Listen here.) And admittedly, I tend to transcribe his often-lengthy answers and then rest my aching fingers and move on, rather than attempting to mount specific rebuttals to any of his points.
So I’ll try to do better. In the meantime, here was the one slightly contentious question asked of Leonsis on WTOP Wednesday morning, with his sort-of lengthy reply. My printing his reply does not imply that I do or do not agree with his reasoning. I’m just letting you know what he said.
(And no, I have no idea why I’m now spending half of every post apologizing for it in advance. Maybe I should just give up the blogging and stick to posting comments and drinking coffee.)
“There’s a new ticketing system this year, which I understood did work better in succeeding games, but the first game at home turned out to be somewhat of a disaster for the digital ticketing….” the WTOP host began.
“That’s not true,” Leonsis said. “It was a very cold night, that opening night. And we had two things that were going on. One was a security system. Across the league, we’re taking security much more diligently, and it starts at entering the building, and so we’re wanding people. That was really the major issue. And it was cold.
“And someone tweeted a photo of the lines – the lines were seven minutes, but it felt like 20. And the majority of the people come in at the same time. But depending on where you came in, the lines were longer. So it was a combination of the cold weather and the security, and a couple of issues where someone didn’t really understand how the new system would work.
“We implemented that system for the Wizards,” he continued. “Our staff knows how to work it. The Wizards fans had a preseason game, they’ve had games to get used to it. The world is going digital. We want to be digital. The card allows for us to do all sorts of good things, like preloading money and gifts. We want to be able to more seamlessly have fans be able to move their tickets to other people using digital. It saves fans money that way. Someone said ‘Oh, you’re so cheap, you didn’t want to print tickets.’ And I said well, we did save some money by not printing tickets, but we spent that same amount of money and a lot more building a digital infrastructure.
“Georgetown does it, the Wizards do it, the Caps do it, the Nats are now doing it,” Leonsis concluded. “We just have to get used to it. But I understand, again, why fans [were upset]. What was right in front of them was, it seems I’m waiting a long time. And I apologize.”