Ted Leonsis “gets it” moreso than most other owners of pro sports franchises so its instructive to pay attention when he has something to say. Yesterday was no exception, as Leonsis spoke at the Washington Post’s symposium on the Business of Sports.
Here are Leonsis’ insightful remarks when asked about the impact of social media:
I’m an extrovert, and I get my energy and my input from fans. I think this new media is like oxygen. Get used to it. I think that there is no more steering wheel in the hand of The Washington Post. I used to live in mortal fear about what you would write. Now, I don’t care.
I think it’s something that [the Washington Post] need[s] to internalize: that we’re our own media company. I announce things on my blog. I get 40 to 90,000 people coming to my blog, depending on the subject. I have a direct, unfiltered way to reach our audience now, and I think that harnessing that is what you have to do as ownership, because we are media brands. We’re in the subscription business. We call them season-ticket holders. We’re in the sponsorship business. We’re in the same business [as The Post].
I think many people in the sports business now have a thorough understanding that social media has completely changed the game with regards to marketing, but I don’t think nearly as many people realize just how fundamentally deeper their businesses have changed. The media rights agreements we’ve seen recently show that most of the folks holding the purse strings don’t understand this at all.
Food for thought.