Monumental Sports & Entertainment chairman, Ted Leonsis, is in the process of creating an empire unrivaled across the sports landscape.
Leonsis, who already owns the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, and Capital City Go-Go franchises, is looking into making a serious bid to land the Washington Nationals along with partner David Rubenstein. MSE is also in the process of fully purchasing NBC Sports Washington with the intention of creating a one-of-a-kind streaming platform in the future.
If the former America Online senior executive is successful in his bid to buy the Nats, he’ll become the only sports owner to own three ‘Big Four’ (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) teams in one city.
As things currently stand, Leonsis is one of just 10 owners to own two franchises in the four major North American sports leagues.
Stan Kroenke, who owns the Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Avalanche, and Denver Nuggets, is the only current owner to have the majority stake in three teams. But there are caveats. The Avs and Nuggets are in his wife’s name due to the NFL not allowing additional out-of-market ownership. Los Angeles and Denver are also not the same city. Leonsis, with a purchase of the Nationals, would own three Big Four teams in Washington, DC, and be the only owner able to claim that unprecedented feat.
The last time anything close of the sort occurred was when Ted Turner, who has his own connections to AOL, was a founding owner of the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999 through Time Warner. At the time, Turner was Time Warner’s biggest individual shareholder and the company owned both the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks through a merger with Turner Broadcasting in 1996.
However, Turner never outright owned Time Warner in the same vein that Leonsis owns MSE. So, Ted would be in a league of his own creation should he acquire DC’s baseball team. And if he doesn’t get them, [does best Goldberg voice] Baltimore, you’re next.
Fans having easy access to watch Leonsis’s teams will be a vital component. Last week’s acquisition of NBC Sports Washington gives MSE a unique opportunity to air important DC sports games year-round on the same network. They’ll already have most of the calendar filled via the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, and Go-Go games. If Leonsis can work his magic and pry the Nationals’ broadcasting rights away from MASN, his summer broadcasting schedule will get even better.
“This is key to our strategy for developing our one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment platform: a super-regional sports & entertainment business featuring multiple teams, multiple venues, multiple networks, and multiple technologies – fully integrated,” Ted Leonsis said on Twitter.
Zach added on his Instagram:
We’ve built fantastic relationships across the two organizations, which gives us great confidence that NBCSW will be a perfect fit within our platform post-closing. NBC Universal and Comcast will continue to provide the network with certain services for a transition period after closing.
With the network’s local team, we plan to build an exceptional and innovative platform for sports fans in the DMV. Upon closing, we will be proud to welcome new teammates into our Monumental family and will work thoughtfully to carry out a smooth transition.
While there is much work to be done, we are confident that we can build for the future while delivering great programming for our fans. We could not be more excited at the prospect of welcoming NBCSW into Monumental.
The Leonsises have long sought a network like this. With a few more moves, they may make sports history.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
Research and additional reporting by Peter Hassett and Ian Oland
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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