Ted Leonsis, the vice-chairman America Online, allowed ESPN to publish his list of 101 Things Ted Leonsis Wants to Do in Life a few years back. Why would ESPN care about a dotcom exec’s ordinal achievements? It’s not because they have a vested interest in the future of instant messaging. How about because Leonsis had already completed #40 on his list:
40. Own a sports franchise (basketball, hockey, or football)
You see, Ted’s been the man behind the Washington Capitals for nearly a decade now, and he’s more well-known than most politicians in this town of wackpots I call home. And with a publicly-viewed list of life goals, there’s no time for slacking off. But Mr. Leonsis, let me give you some advice. For number #41, you have “Win a world championship.” This is WAY overrated. Anaheim thought this would be a good goal, and Gary Bettman is packing them on a cargo barge and shipping them to England as a reward. Perhaps I may suggest a new objective…
41b. Bring sports talk radio to its knees.
While the other owners of NHL franchises are busy jumping ship by selling their squads to horror movie producers and cash cowboys, Leonsis is standing by his team and speaking out at those too short-sighted to respect the Coolest Game on Earth. When David Beckham came to town the other day to largely watch D.C. United host the Galaxy, Leonsis was one of the 47k in attendance. On the way to the game, he was listening to SportsTalk 980, one of two stations with such a format here in the Nation’s Capital. As you may have guessed, 980 doesn’t exactly excel in sports that aren’t wearing burgundy and gold. (D.C. is really trifling at sports talk, by the way. It has nothing on Philly’s WIP or WFAN in New York. One of the two stations is an ESPNRadio affiliate bankrolled by Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder, and the homerism bleeds through your radio dial and onto your dashboard. It’s rather gooey and a pain in the ass to clean. The other, 980, well, I’ll let Uncle Ted take it from here.)
They made fun of the regular attendance of DC United which averages about 19,000 per game. They questioned whether soccer would make it in America. They basically parroted every cliché about soccer and MLS that we have heard through the years. There was a sarcastic mention equating soccer fans to hockey fans.
Oh, damn it to hell. You said the H word.
Isn’t SportsTalk 980 an all sports network? Shouldn’t they be celebrating this game as an event? Shouldn’t they be promising all of the people listening to the broadcast that were going to the game and listening in that they would cover more soccer so tune in regularly? Wouldn’t that help ratings?
This was Sunday. On Sundays, Ted merely laces up his skates. On Tuesdays, he hits the ice and starts warming up for pre-game. His Tuesday follow-up post describes some of the research he did concerning the Arbitron ratings of 980, WTEM on your AM radio dial. His best warm-up wristers on the goalie? Here you go:
In the morning drive time period, the station gets less than a 1.0 rating which leaves it in 21st place (I don’t think I can even get 21 stations on my car radio) with about 4,200 people listening. In the afternoon period, it is in 16th place with less than a 1.0 rating and less than 6,800 people listening. In some instances, the audience is so small that is doesn’t register a rating…So with numbers like these, should the station and its personalities be making fun of any team’s ratings or attendance? Can it afford to alienate any sports fans?
On Wednesdays, Ted skates into the face-off circle and loosens his grip on those trusty CCM gloves he types with.
For the last two days my blog has received more than 6,000 unique visitors per day. I should have my own show on SportsTalk 980, don’t you think? :-)
Oh Teddy, we love your ability to use the interwebs to speak to the common man. We also love you for giving common men like Ben Clymer and Boyd Gordon paychecks. Keep up the good work. (Here’s some bonus footage of Leonsis helping out a man a little better than common.)