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Capital Buzz: New premium seats for Capitals, Wizards fans

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By Thomas Heath
Monday, August 16, 2010

Ted Leonsis has owned the Washington Wizards NBA team and Verizon Center for just two months, and already changes are afoot on the business side. First he renamed the sports empire -- Washington Capitals, Wizards and Verizon -- Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Then he put his business and media team in place to oversee operations.

In a search for new revenue opportunities, Leonsis is hiving off the front of the Acela Club restaurant at the arena and installing two rows totaling 117 premium seats.

The deal works like this: front-row Capitals season tickets are $6,500 per seat, which includes access to a buffet, unlimited soft drinks, game program and off-site parking. Second-row seats are $5,500.

The Wizards -- not surprising given the team's poor play in recent years -- are cheaper, at $4,500 and $4,000 for the first and second rows, respectively.

"With high demand for Capitals tickets, we investigated new ways to create seating locations," Leonsis said in an e-mail. "We typically had fans enjoying a great dinner in the Acela Club and then going to their seats in the stands to watch the game. So we thought it was natural to create a permanent seat location where fans may enjoy dinner as well as the game. It simply was a way for us to attempt to keep up with the demand for tickets."

The Buzz hears that most of the Capitals tickets are sold.

SPEAKING OF LEONSIS ...

He has just finished producing his third documentary film. The mogul and Rick Allen, chief executive of Leonsis's SnagFilms, will premier "A Fighting Chance" on broadcast television on ESPN on Veterans Day. The documentary is about Kyle Maynard, an athlete, author and speaker who was born without fully developed arms and legs. The film is now available for a very limited sneak peak on SnagFilms in advance of its ESPN broadcast premiere.

THE BUZZ HEARS ...

-- Dan Akerson, General Motors chief executive-to-be and current Carlyle Group managing director, will keep his McLean residence but is also looking for a place near the automaker's downtown Detroit office. Look for him to be on the road a lot, minding GM's worldwide operations.

-- Former AOLer Andy Erickson and his brother Jim doubled visitors and revenue in the second month at their Reston start-up CriticalPast, which offers film producers and history buffs royalty-free downloads of 57,000 historic videos and 7 million still photos. Andy worked on various AOL offerings from 1996 to 2006. Jim worked in the D.C. and L.A. film markets, handling motion picture conversions for TV programs and movies.


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