Leonsis in 2011
|Born||Theodore John Leonsis
January 8, 1957
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Occupation||Owner, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Verizon Center, Chairman SnagFilms, Revolution Money, Groupon|
|Net worth||$1 billion|
Theodore John Leonsis (born January 8, 1957) is a sports team owner, venture capital investor, filmmaker, author and philanthropist. His early new media company, Redgate Communications was acquired by America Online in 1994, and Leonsis became a senior AOL executive for the next 13 years. He is the majority owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals, the NBA's Washington Wizards, the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Leonsis a founding member and investor in the Revolution Growth Fund, leading investments in FedBid, Resonate Networks, and Optoro. He serves as Founder and Chairman of SnagFilms, is an investor and chairman of the board of directors of Groupon  and is on the board of American Express and other companies. Leonsis has produced documentary films such as the Peabody and the Emmy Award-winning Nanking and is the author of The Business of Happiness.
Leonsis was born to Greek American parents in Brooklyn, and spent his early years there. His parents worked as a waiter and a secretary. After skipping 8th grade, Leonsis attended Brooklyn Technical High School but before graduation, his family moved back to their hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. He graduated from Lowell High School in 1973 and Georgetown University in 1977. After graduation, Leonsis moved back to his parents' home in Lowell and began working for Wang Laboratories. In 2005, he was honored as one of Lowell High School's Distinguished Alumni for reaching the highest level of accomplishment and possessing the highest standards of integrity and character.
After surviving an airplane crash landing in 1983, he drafted a list of 101 things to do in life and has completed many of the tasks, including owning a sports franchise.
His career with AOL started in 1993 when AOL purchased his marketing company, Redgate Communications Corp. to help AOL compete with Microsoft. Under his leadership, AOL increased its membership from under 800,000 members to over 8 million, and their annual revenue increased from $100 million to $1.5 billion. He held numerous positions at AOL during his years there, completing his tenure and retiring in 2006 as the audience group's president and vice-chairman. He now serves as vice chairman emeritus of AOL.
Leonsis was named Businessperson of the Year in 2001 by Washington Business Journal and Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. In 2009, Leonsis was named one of Washington's Tech Titans by Washingtonian Magazine. In March 2013, Leonsis was named one of Virginia’s 50 most influential people by Virginia Business magazine.
Leonsis currently serves as founding chairman of SnagFilms, a social media website that lets viewers watch and share documentary films. Leonsis is an investor, former co-CEO and currently chairman of the board of directors of Groupon. He also serves on the board of directors at AddThis, where he served as chairman, and American Express, wherehe heads the technology and innovation committee. Leonsis is currently on the board of directors at Georgetown University, his alma mater  as well as Revolution Growth companies FedBid, Resonate and Optoro. He also serves on the charity boards of DC-CAP (Districtof Columbia College Access Program) and CSF – DC (College Success Foundation –District of Columbia). In 2010 Leonsis authored, The Business of Happiness.
In early 2011, Leonsis announced his purchase of Marwood, a historic 13-acre estate in Potomac, Maryland. He acquired the property, a chateau-style riverfront mansion, for $20 million after selling homes in McLean, Virginia and Vero Beach, Florida. The 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) estate was once the home of Joseph P. Kennedy, summer home of Franklin Roosevelt, and was owned by the Gore family from 1942-1995. Leonsis purchased the home from Chris Rogers, a telecommunications executive who acquired Leonsis' home in McLean. The house, which was built in 1926, or 1930 by Samuel Martin, has 8 bedrooms, 11 full baths, and parking space for 10 cars. By some accounts, the estate is haunted, and has been called the "creepiest" home in Potomac.
Sports team ownership
Leonsis is the founder, majority owner, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the sports and entertainment group which on June 9, 2010 became owners of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals and the WNBA's Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center. Monumental Sports also manages Kettler Capitals Iceplex and George Mason University’s Patriot Center. He also walks around the Verizon Center during games and uses Facebook, his Ted's Take Blog and Twitter to communicate his thoughts and urges players and staff to do the same.
Leonsis has a "hands on" approach to management of his sports teams. Leonsis has sought to roll-back changes to the Wizards and Capitals franchises that coincided with the opening of the Verizon Center in 1997. In 2007, he changed the Capitals team logo and its colors back to red, white, and blue and has done the same with the Wizards. In May 2011, the team unveiled new Wizards uniforms and logos, receiving positive responses from media, fans, players and alumni. Additionally, he had taken under consideration returning their name to the Bullets, though critics said that this would "send the wrong message" about gun violence in Washington.
In the early years of his ownership, the Capitals went on to win back-to-back Southeast Division titles in 2000 and 2001 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the summer of 2001, the Capitals traded for Jaromir Jagr and signed him to what was at the time, the largest contract in NHL history. After Jagr was traded in 2004, Leonsis received overwhelming criticism from fans, and was involved in a physical altercation with a 20-year old fan, Jason Hammer, who led a mocking chant of Leonsis during the game and hoisted a sign chiding him. Hammer confronted Leonsis, who grabbed and threw him to the ground. Leonsis was fined $100,000 and suspended for a week, during which he was prohibited from having any contact with the team. During the altercation a young child was knocked to the ground.
After purchasing the Wizards, Leonsis criticized the NBA's salary cap at a luncheon with business leaders. He was fined $100,000 by the league, for "unauthorized public comments regarding the league's collective bargaining negotiations." In 2010, journalist Damien Cox, author of the Ovechkin Project, a biography of Alexander Ovechkin, wrote that Leonsis was trying to circumvent the NHL's salary cap when signing Ovechkin’s contract. He also alleged that Leonsis was bribing bloggers for positive coverage of the Capitals. Leonsis said that Cox was angry that he did not receive the access to Ovechkin that he wanted and defended his support for the league.
In 2009-10 the Capitals earned the NHL's President's Trophy as the team that finished with the most points in the league during the regular season. 
The 2010-11 season marked the highest attendance in franchise history, drawing 754,309 fans. The Capitals, like other teams, have raised ticket prices in recent years. In 2011, after raising ticket prices for the fourth consecutive year while shrinking the size of beers sold at the Verizon Center, he earned the nickname "Leon$i$". In 2001, Leonsis claimed to have written a computer program that prevented Pittsburgh Penguins fans (the Capitals first-round opponent) from purchasing tickets online. When asked if the actions were unfair, Leonsis stated, "I don't care. I'm going to keep doing it." Again in 2009, he received criticism for preventing visiting team fans from purchasing Capitals playoff tickets.
In the face of community opposition, Leonsis has persisted with a plan to expand the billboards around the Verizon Center. Critics said the signage would make the arena more garish and cheapen DC's Chinatown while Leonsis said it was necessary to raise an additional $20 to 30 million in annual revenue.
In July 2013 Leonsis was named the No. 1 Sports PowerPlayer in Maryland.
Leonsis has become involved in film investing as a philanthropic interest, which he calls "filmanthropy". "The driver of filmanthropy is that the world is more screwed up every day and people want to call attention to issues," he told the Financial Times. His first production was the documentary Nanking which made its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The 2009 Best Historical Programming Emmy and 2008 Peabody Award winning film is based on the best selling book The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. In 2008, Leonsis produced Kicking It, a documentary by Susan Koch about the 2006 Homeless World Cup. The film, narrated by actor Colin Farrell, featured residents of Afghanistan, Kenya, Dublin, Charlotte, North Carolina, Madrid and Saint Petersburg. The film premiered in January, 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival and is being distributed by Liberation Entertainment, Netflix and ESPN. A third documentary, A Fighting Chance, tells the story of Kyle Maynard, who despite being born without arms or legs has become a nationally ranked wrestler, motivational speaker and bestselling author. In 2013 Leonsis produced Lost for Life , a documentary that explores juvenile offenders who have been sentenced to life without parole.
Leonsis is a mentor through the Hoop Dreams program. Through Hoop Dreams, Leonsis was able to guide Michael Hendrickson into and through his first choice college. Leonsis and Hendrickson continue this relationship today. About Hoop Dreams, Leonsis has stated, “"The Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund is extraordinary and this Tournament really brings together so many different segments of the city to do something good for the youth of DC. Together, we can help make the educational dreams of hard working students a reality."
In addition, Leonsis is a contributor to the See Forever Foundation and to YouthAIDS. He also sponsors his own philanthropic foundation, the Leonsis Foundation, dedicated to creating "opportunities for children that enable them to reach their highest potential." The Foundation "partners with and supports organizations with the creativity, skill and dedication to help children overcome obstacles and achieve their goals."
On November 20, 2010, Leonsis was inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame due to his work in AOL, Washington’s major sports, filmmaking and donations to local charities.
- Leonsis, Ted. 1984. Software Masters for Pfs. Clayton: Warner Books.
- Leonsis, Ted. 1984. Software Masters for Pes: Apple Version (48k). Clayton: Warner Books.
- Chposky, James and Ted Leonsis. 1988. Blue Magic: The People, Power and Politics Behind the IBM Personal Computer. New York: Facts on File Publications.
- Leonsis, Ted. 2010. The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets to Extraordinary Success in Work and Life. Regnery Publishing, Inc.
- Surreal Estate: Ted Leonsis buys lavish Potomac estate, Washington Post, January 4, 2011.
- Shapiro, Margaret (March 2, 2010). "Ted Leonsis of Washington Capitals suggests making goals to ensure a happy life". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- Fabel, Leah (August 3, 2008). "Credo: Ted Leonsis". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- "Ted Leonsis". Internet Movie Database. 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- Washington Capitals
- Ted's Take - The American Dream
- What You Can Learn from Ted Leonsis' Life List
- "Ted Leonsis Oral History" (PDF). Computer World Honors Program. November 8, 2001. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- Ted's Take - The College Experience
- "101 things to do in D.C. when you're Ted". ESPN. March 13, 2002. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- Swisher, Kara. 1998. AOL.COM: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads, and Made Millions in the War for the Web.New York: Three Rivers Press
- Zillgitt, Jeff (January 19, 2000). "Dot-coms click into world of pro sports". USA Today.
- "Leonsis Pulls Away From Helm of AOL". The Washington Post. September 15, 2006.
- Ted Leonsis: Businessperson of the Year December 28, 2001
- Past Washingtonians of the Year January 29, 2008
- Washington's Tech Titans May 1, 2009
- Georgetown Board of Directors, 2008-2009
- House and Home Ted's Take, January 3, 2011
- Marwood Estate Gets New Owner in Luxury “House Swap”, WMRIS_CMO, January 9, 2011.
- HOUSE OF THE DAY: Sports Mogul Ted Leonsis Buys A $8 Million Historic Mansion, Business Insider, January 8, 2011
- Real Estate News WashingtonLife February 2006
- Don Imus Cuts Price by 17% On Westport, Conn., Compound WSJ Online January 7, 2011
- Ted Leonsis Swaps Homes in Great Deal AOL Real Estate, Jan 5th 2011
- Real Estate News WashingtonLife February 2006
- Marwood Estate Gets New Owner in Luxury “House Swap”, WMRIS_CMO, January 9, 2011.
- Haunted Houses of Maryland & The Trillium Bethesda Greater Bethesda Online October 27th, 2009
- Release Me: Hauntings in Maryland
- Haunted Places in Maryland
- Marwood Mansion 11231 River View Drive
- The Scene BisNow
- Ted Leonsis-Led Group Completes Acquisition of Washington Wizards
- Elliott, Helene (October 13, 2009). "Capitals' Ted Leonsis owns up to the good and the bad". Los Angeles Times.
- Ted Leonsis takes hands-on approach with Washington Wizards, Washington Business Journal, December 17, 2010.
- "Wizards Unveil New Uniforms". The Washington Post. May 10, 2011.
- Ted Leonsis says name change to Bullets is 'under consideration', Washington Post, October 6, 2010.
- From the Wizards back to the Bullets? A bad call, Washington Post, October 9, 2010.
- NHL to examine incident, Washington Times, January 28, 2004.
- Capitals' Owner Clashes With Fan at Game, Washington Post, January 27, 2004.
- Ted Leonsis fined $100,000 for comments on NBA salary cap, Associated Press, September 29, 2010.
- Cox: Outlaw owners get their way in Kovalchuk deal thestar.com Sept. 3, 2010
- Damian Cox Continues To Stir The Pot With Ted Leonsis
- The Ovechkin Project, Gare Joyce and Ted Leonsis
- Ted’s Take – Unemotional Response
- "Caps Claim First Presidents' Trophy". The Washington Post. April 4, 2010.
- , ESPN, May 6, 2011
- Capitals Raise Ticket Prices Again, Washington Post, February 18, 2010.
- Cheap Seats Daily: Who Says Ted Leonsis = Dan Snyder?, Washington CityPaper, February 19, 2010.
- "Leonsis, Ted Is Washington turning on its good-guy megamogul?". Washington City Paper. 2001. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
- "Leonsis Prevents Penguins Fans From Buying Tix For DC Games". Sports Business Daily. April 17, 2001. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
- Molinari, Dave (May 2, 2009). "Penguins Notebook: Getting tickets tough call now". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- "Leonsis: Billboards could help Wizards, Caps". Washington Examiner. June 20, 2012.
- "Blasted By Opposition to Lighted Signs on Verizon Center, Ted Leonsis Asks For More Time". Washington City Paper. January 19, 2012.
- "Leonsis' plan to light up arena would cheapen Chinatown". Washington Examiner. January 12, 2012.
- FT.com / Wealth / Philanthropy - Shooting the message
- The Hollywood Reporter
- "Fighting Chance Movie".
- "Lost for Life".
- A Push in the Right Direction, Washington Post, May 20, 2005.
- Hoop Dreams Press Release June 8th, 2008.
- See Forever Press Release, January 2007
- Washingtonian.com, "A Night Out: YouthAIDS Gala", October 30, 2006
- Leonsis Foundation.
- "Theodore "Ted" J. Leonsis". Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. November 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
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