Ted Leonsis talked for like 70 minutes on the Internet last week, via his annual Owner’s Corner segment. I love transcribing, but even I couldn’t do 70 minutes of the stuff. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and all. If you want to watch it all, it’s here. Leonsis also followed up on many of the points relating to media later in blog form. But even that was 1,800-plus words.
So, since I write about local media stuff a lot, and since I love you, I will divide his media thoughts into a few quick categories.
The question concerned whether the Caps could get on FM, to help listeners west of D.C.
“I think we have to be honest with the changing habits of consumers around media,” Leonsis said. “And right now, if there’s a game in D.C., people will come to the game. If they can’t come to the game or they can’t get tickets, they’ll watch it on television. More and more, if they can’t watch it on television, they want to stream the game....And radio as a medium is not as centrally important, and the ratings show that. We’ve been very loyal to radio...and for the thousands of people who can’t come to the game and they’re driving, or they’re working late and they’re going home, radio is a great solution. But it’s just a part of the mix. And I believe in making appropriate levels of investment in radio, but television and the internet are where the puck is going. And radio, we want to be loyal to because traffic in the area isn’t great, but no one is in their house and not watching on television. Some days we’re getting 5.0 ratings on TV, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people watching our games. And we’ll get a couple of thousand of people listening on the radio.
Comment: Well, the Caps have had a handful of televised games earn 5.0 or better, though only one regular season game on Comcast SportsNet has ever topped 5.2. Also, a 5.0 television rating would equal about 120,000 households. Obviously, a household could be more than one person, but I’m still not sure I’d call that “hundreds and hundreds of thousands.” Either way, interesting to see that radio ratings are so much lower.
“I just saw internal research that said the four main ways that our fans stay connected to the Caps was WashingtonCaps.com is No. 1, Comcast SportsNet is No. 2....the Washington Post No. 3, and Ted’s Take is No. 4. ...All the other blogs that I read that I have a lot of respect for, some of them were down in the 2 or 3 percent of the community we polled, the season-ticket holders....I have to listen to people all the time and get their input and feedback, and I remain committed to that, but those four communications platforms are the way our customers get their information.”
Later in his blog, Leonsis added that the fifth biggest source is team mailings and e-mails.
“These five sites and media are the starting points for fans and most fans don’t go past this grouping of sites for information,” he wrote. “The drop off is dramatic in terms of how far and deep fans will go to find information.”
Comment: I don’t have this internal research, and maybe I don’t know enough Caps season-ticket holders, but the idea that more Caps get information from Ted’s Take and team e-mails than from ESPN and ESPN.com, or from Yahoo! sports, or from local TV news or free papers or WTOP, is extremely hard for me to believe. Maybe it depends what the definition of “fan” is. Or the definition of “information.”
“Katie and Dan, if you’re watching this, I have a question for you,” Leonsis said at one point. “Do you think you’ll be back next season.”
Comment: Jokes are fun. I love jokes. But media members wondering about the future of a contracted head coach who has suffered three straight disappointing postseasons is appropriate. I am not on-contract at The Post, nor have I suffered through disappointing postseasons. So yes, I do think I’ll be back next season. If that’s not the case, I will be sure to leak the information to WashingtonCaps.com, so I can reach the largest audience possible.
In blog and video form, Leonsis revealed that some fans would like him to curtail player tweeting.
“Some fans have emailed me and recommended we not allow some of our players to Tweet,” he wrote. “They don’t like what they read. They lose respect for the players. Some have asked me to shut down my blog. I understand but interactivity is like oxygen now. We might as well get used to it.”
Comment: Say, did you see the outline of Mike Green’s new tattoo, which he revealed on Twitter?
In blog and video form, Leonsis also expressed some level of pride that he was forcing us to go to his Web site to hear his thoughts.
“I also didn’t do a Washington Post interview at season’s end because as is my style, if I did, then I would have to do every interview from every news source and every blogger and every podcaster and every radio station and on and on,” he wrote. “As I noted, this is a time of research and introspection. So I did a blog post instead. I try not to cater to one. I like to communicate to the many. Maybe this is a bad idea. I don’t know but it is what I thought was the best course of action.”
“Dan’s probably sitting there typing as fast as he can, transcribing everything that I’m saying,” he said on the video. “And it’s coming off of our web site. This is OUR OWN medium. We are making news that all the other media now will take and ingest and process, but the start point is WashingtonCaps.com.”
Comment: You know what would really be great? If you could provide a full transcript of the 70 minutes next time, so I could spend my time ingesting and processing instead of just typing.