A Letter from Ted Leonsis, to you the Fan

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A Letter from Ted Leonsis, to you the Fan

Postby Bob 0119 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:18 am

Leonsis wrote: Happy New Year. We’ve reached the midpoint of the NHL regular season, and I’m very satisfied and excited about the strides our organization has made on and off the ice. It’s a fun time to be an owner, player, coach or a fan. I remember writing previous midseason Owner’s Corners and asking for your patience as young, unknown players developed and as we were assembling our team. Thank you for supporting us through difficult times.

Let me acknowledge that we still have significant strides to make if we hope to meet our ultimate goals of long-term success and our first Stanley Cup. But as we have said all along, it is a journey, and this part of the journey is enjoyable. So while we strive to continually improve, let us also take the time to appreciate the process.

With last night’s victory we have 57 points (best in team history through 41 games), tops in our division and second in the Eastern Conference. And the community has responded, embracing our team and its players. I always thought that if we could put an exciting, successful product on the ice, the D.C. area would respond.

My metrics – your emails primary among them – demonstrate that hockey in D.C. is as strong as it ever has been, and it is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Our fans, most importantly our plan holders, are extremely satisfied with what we have delivered. We certainly have “rocked the red” as attendance is up more than 30% when compared with last year. We already have recorded 10 sellouts – two more than all of last season – and many more are on the horizon. Capitals fans around the world are consuming our product through a variety of traditional as well as nontraditional means.

Our Comcast SportsNet television ratings have steadily increased and are 130% better than a year ago, and yesterday we announced a new television venture, Capitals Red Line Monday, presented by Geico. The show will debut Feb. 9 on CSN and highlight the personalities of our players as well as give fans a behind-the-scenes look at our team. Here’s a quick video promo for Capitals Red Line Monday.

Traffic to WashingtonCaps.com continues to grow as monthly visits (139%), monthly unique visitors (87%) and page views (196%) have increased dramatically when compared with last year. On average, visitors are spending more time on our website than any other site in the NHL. Fans continue to show their support and loyalty by wearing our merchandise, as sales are up nearly 42%. Last year’s plan-holder renewal rate was higher than 92%, and I would have to think we are a far more attractive sports and entertainment option today.

Those are tangible and measurable metrics, but there definitely is an intangible feeling that strikes me when I walk into Kettler Capitals Iceplex and the Verizon Center or talk with fans and business acquaintances. There is an energy and a special feeling that has engulfed this franchise, and it can be felt most on game-nights when red-clad fans show their support and loyalty. I most certainly notice it, and I know our players notice it. It’s a wonderful transformation and a great feeling.

All of this brings me to one conclusion: D.C. is a Caps hockey town.

Much has been written about our success this past year, and there were a number of significant accomplishments on the Capitals’ 2008 calendar – the third-most points in the NHL in the timeframe, improbable last-season surge to a division championship and subsequent playoff appearance, tremendous home record (31-6-3), fantastic fan support, an MVP season from Alex Ovechkin, coach-of-the-year honors for Bruce Boudreau, rookie of the year consideration for Nicklas Backstrom, the emergence of Mike Green and successful affiliations with Hershey (AHL) and South Carolina (ECHL). All of those help to illustrate that we have made significant improvements to our franchise.

To me one of the greatest testaments to a player or an organization is how it deals with adversity. Our players face many of the everyday challenges that our fans face – time to spend with family, illness, injury, death of a loved one – and they continue to persevere. Our team has been beset by injuries this year, yet we have continued to be successful because we have built such a strong foundation. It is rewarding to see how well the players who have been recalled from Hershey perform at the NHL level.

It also is extremely gratifying to have put a difficult and sometimes gut-wrenching plan in place and begin to see the fruits of those tough decisions. I’m very proud of our current team. We have great chemistry, play with passion, bring enthusiasm to the rink each day and have a group of outstanding, compassionate young men. It’s great to win, but it feels even better to win with people whom you admire and respect.

So while I thank our plan holders, sponsors, business partners and fans in general, I also want to acknowledge my appreciation for our players as well as the front office staff. We have done well, and we welcome the challenges ahead of us.

I view this team as a public trust, and as the custodian of that trust I pledge my best efforts to make you proud to be a Washington Capitals fan. As you know, I respect, encourage and rely on your feedback at washingtoncaps@aol.com but ask that you be courteous and respectful.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. All of us anticipate an exciting 2009. Just think, many believe our team historically sees a spike in fan and media interest in January. That should make for a fun ride the second half of the season. Let’s enjoy this special journey.

- Ted
“If you grow up in metro Washington, you grow up a diehard Redskins fan. But if you hate your parents, you grow up a Cowboys fan.”-Jim Lachey

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Postby Jake » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:22 pm

Wow, what a novel idea. An owner communicating to his team's fanbase and expressing appreciation?

Take notes Danny Boy.
RIP Sean Taylor 1983-2007
RIP Kevin Mitchell 1971-2007
RIP Justin Skaggs 1979-2007
RIP Sammy Baugh 1914-2008

RIP VetSkinsFan

#60 Chris Samuels: 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time Pro Bowl left tackle!

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