101 changes for Washington Wizards

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101 changes for Washington Wizards

The Wisdom of Our Crowds - 101 To Do List Final

It has been an incredibly faced-paced, exciting and rewarding three-plus months since we formed Monumental Sports & Entertainment and acquired the Washington Wizards, Verizon Center and the local Ticketmaster franchise. My partners and I are fortunate to have such a passionate and dedicated staff as we prepare to usher in many of the changes our fans have suggested. We all have worked incredibly hard as we prepare for the upcoming NHL and NBA seasons.At the June news conference announcing the acquisitions, I informed our fans that I had opened my [email protected] account and invited them to share their thoughts, concerns and wishes, much like Capitals fans have been doing for years. I had planned to use those emails to augment the list of changes I had hoped to enact. But I didn’t anticipate the tremendous response I would receive from Wizards fans as well as additional suggestions from Capitals and Mystics fans and others who attend Verizon Center events. It was staggering, eye-opening and rewarding. I’ve received more than 4,000 emails - some lengthy, some short, some wide-ranging, some direct.

In addition to all the emails, I have attended many events that included current plan-holders, potential plan-holders and plan-holders who have failed to renew this year. I’ve met with business partners and those considering a partnership with us. I have hosted town-hall meetings with hundreds of people at a time, been in small-group discussions, connected with others via phone and encountered many of you in one-on-one settings around town or while attending other events. In all, I believe I had more than 10,000 interactions in the first 100 days of our ownership.

So we took all of this feedback and we got to work. As you may recall, originally I blogged about 101 things that were brought to my attention shortly after the news conference, but that list grew rapidly. We already have changed 101 things in 101 days - and more. Bottom line - you are demanding a double-bottom line business from us. You want us to do well but you also want us to be good citizens. You want us to build playoff contending teams. You want us to compete for and win championships. You want us to do it in a way that makes you proud. We hear you!

List of 101 Signs of Visible Change

You asked for (us to)…
What we’re doing

1. More transparency concerning strategy and plans via more connection with fans

Frequent updates on; provide public insight in team development strategy; 10,000 touch points in first 100 days

2. Reconnect with Gilbert Arenas

Met with Gilbert and connected in person and via

3. Open some practice sessions to the public

Training camp held at GMU with some practice sessions and scrimmage open to the public

4. Visible involvement with local youth basketball

Hired a Director of Camps and Clinics

5. Additional benefits for season-ticket holders

VIP ticket holders get free drinks and food; improved parking

6. Improve game presentation and halftime entertainment

Will be showing 3D video on opening night and periodically during the season; invested in Crowd Wave technology; upgraded sound and light systems

7. Re-engage with alumni for more participation; launch alumni program

Launched Wizards/Bullets Alumni Association led by Bobby Dandridge

8. More season-ticket holder access to the owner

Have held dozens town hall meetings and other events with season-ticket holders

9. Create additional “dream seats” and enhance amenities

Added 8 new courtside dream seats for Wizards games; added amenities for VIP ticket holders

10. Different Wizards’ cheerleader and Red Rockers’ outfits

New outfits will be ready for opening night

11. Redesign; improve video options

Website redesign completed

12. A new public address announcer

Ralph Wesley named PA announcer

13. A new LED scorer’s table

Installed new scorer’s table with LED display

14. Additional local cable programming

Comcast SportsNet dedicated pregame shows

15. Improved recognition of longtime season-ticket holders


16. Improved quality of promotional giveaways


17. Renew connection with our fans in Baltimore

Working on events for Baltimore fans

18. Fan access to additional in-game statistical information


19. More organ music

More organ music

20. Eliminate the “Dee-Fence” chant


21. Move training camp close to D.C.

Opened local training camp at the Patriot Center (GMU) with midnight tip-off

22. Maintain connection to Pollin family and charities

Continued support for Abe’s Table

23. Develop student discount opportunities for local colleges

Will institute student rush nights

24. More community involvement in Virginia

George Mason University

25. More community involvement in Maryland


26. Draft and develop international players

Kevin Seraphin and Yi Jianlian

27. More local celebrities at games

Owners’ Club program launched

28. Change Wizards’ colors back to red, white and blue


29. Increased emphasis on the Wizards D-League team


30. Draft more local college players for Wizards

Under consideration

31. Change Wizards’ team name to Bullets

Under consideration

32. Increase efficiency at concession stands

Speeding up order-taking process at stands; roaming vendors

33. Improve arena lighting

See: No. 6

34. Upgrade sound system; additional speakers installed

See: No. 6

35. Ensure condiment containers are refilled

Instructed vendors to make sure condiment containers are never empty

36. Launch environmentally friendly initiatives

Capitals’ and Wizards’ media guides available in digital format; more recycling bins; looking at other Green initiatives

37. Fresher popcorn

Asked Aramark to make sure popcorn is always fresh

38. Fresher buns

See: No. 37

39. Warmer pizza

Turned up heat in ovens

40. Place renewed emphasis on general cleanliness and food safety

Working with Aramark to make Verizon Center best-in-class

41. Wi-Fi access

WiFi access is now available

42. Food and beverage vendors in stands

Beer and peanut vendors in stands at games

43. Colder beer

Turned up the cooling system

44. Red white and blue more noticeable in the area

Painted garage red, white and blue; arena steps red

45. Improved cell phone reception

Working with cell phone carriers to install antenna and improve reception

46. Better iPhone connectivity

See: No. 41

47. New usher uniforms

Ushers have new game-day uniforms

48. Improve training for ushers


49. Coordinate with metro to improve scheduling and avoid delays


50. Add historic photographs throughout arena

Have added memorabilia and photos around Verizon Center

51. Improve parking for plan-holders

Added parking as an amenity for VIP ticket holders

52. Increased number of merchandise items


53. Improved amenities on club level

Working with Aramark and Levy to provide additional offerings

54. Additional vegetarian food options

Will be offering expanded menu of vegetarian food options

55. Kosher food options added to menu

Offering kosher food options

56. “Local flavor” to be added to concession menus


57. Improved and upgraded suite amenities

Have upgraded a number of suites including Owner’s Suite and Owner’s Club

58. Cleaner mirrors in the bathrooms

More Windex issued to staff

59. Install beverage shelf in the men’s restrooms

Beverage shelves installed

60. Repair latches in the women’s restrooms

Latches fixed

61. Increased efforts to combat ticket scalping near arena

Working with DC police to combat problem

62. Paper towels always available, even if hand dryers are present

Taken steps to ensure that paper towel dispensers are re-filled during games

63. Replace stained and worn carpet in patron areas

Have installed new carpet where needed

64. Improved Verizon Center signage

New banners on exterior of building; new images depicting Capitals, Mystics and Wizards history on concourse

65. New banners recognizing team accomplishments

See: #64

66. New concourse images of current players and legends

See: #64

67. Added memorabilia items for display in suites

Some suites upgraded

68. Clean arena windows more frequently


69. Increased messages asking fans to be respectful of others


70. Concession e-mail feedback option on the Verizon Center website


71. Paint stairs red

Thousands of stairs painted red

72. Paint the garage

Garage painted red, white and blue

73. Acela Club redesign

Completed and tickets being sold

74. Add ledge seating to Acela Club

Completed and tickets being sold

75. Add standing room only seats for Capitals

Completed and tickets being sold

76. New Owners’ Club suite

Owner’s Suite and Owner’s Club renovated

77. New executive offices

Offices renovated

78. Upgrade the online “will call” process


79. Food and beverage directory to be available online


80. Additional TDD offerings at the Verizon Center


81. Offer valet parking for VIP ticket holders


82. Concierge service available at the Verizon Center


83. Owner commitment to blog regularly about all teams – Capitals, Mystics and Wizards

84. Combined ticket packages including Capitals, Mystics and Wizards

Available and on-sale

85. Partner with restaurants and businesses to provide discounts for fans

Discount coupons for season-ticket holders

86. The Owner’s Suite to be used for charitable purposes

Owners host many events in the suite

87. Keep toilet paper stock in bathrooms

Staff asked to ensure toilet paper dispensers are never empty

88. Less random discounting of tickets


89. More autograph sessions

Capitals’ Convention; Wizards’ FanFest

90. More music variety


91. More stand-alone concession carts


92. Social media tweetups


93. Improve media room

Will install new carpet, tables and chairs

94. Create more energy in the arena

New videos, music and technology

95. More equitable distribution of prizes to various sections


96. Create a “basketball junkies” ticket package including Wizards, Mystics and Hoyas


97. Additional iPhone applications


98. Work with city to increase visible levels of security around Verizon Center


99. Text for service capability in arena for all fans


100. Upgrade family rooms for players and friends


101. New ways to clean arena by fans


Perhaps the most visible change to date was the switch to George Mason University for Wizards training camp. One of the things you asked for was an opportunity for a greater connection with the team, so we listened and moved our training camp from its traditional site near Richmond to George Mason, here in Northern Virginia. We started training camp with Wizards Midnight Tip-off - I’m told it’s the first time an event like this has happened in the NBA. Our players and coaches were really excited and nearly 4,000 fans showed up at the Patriot Center. George Mason president Dr. Alan Merten and basketball coach Jim Larranaga have been exceptional hosts. It was a fantastic way to hit the court running.

One of the common themes I heard in your comments was the need to freshen up and spruce up the Verizon Center. We hear you, and we had similar thoughts. We have more ideas and plans in the works, but here are a few of the more significant and notable projects we’ve already completed:

• We painted the arena’s parking garage red, white and blue (and it’s a pretty big garage).

• Then we decided that wasn’t enough, so we painted the stairs in the Verizon Center red. There are literally thousands of stairs in the Verizon Center, but I think you’ll agree that it looks great.

• We changed the game-night attire for all of our ushers, and their new uniforms are fashionable and professional - they really look fantastic.

• We undertook a major project in the Acela Club, building what we refer to as new “ledge seats” where fans can sit and watch the games while enjoying the great food and beverages that are served up there.

• We’ve invested significantly in a new lighting system and an upgraded sound system. We have a great atmosphere now, especially for Capitals games, but these additions really are going to help improve the game experience and make it even more exciting and enjoyable. We also have invested in Crowd Wave technology that will get our fans much more involved in our game entertainment.

• Many of you complained about the quality as well as the time it took to order and purchase your food. So we’ve taken steps to speed up the process at every food stand in the building. We also have put a select number of vendors with food and beverages back in the stands so that you don’t have to leave your seats. We’ve taken steps to make sure the beer is cold (do you know we serve nearly 50 brands of beer?), the pizza is hot and the popcorn is fresh. We’ve added a number of kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian and even vegan food offerings. We also have added a text service that allows fans to give us immediate feedback on how we are doing.

• Importantly, we’ve redoubled our efforts to ensure that the concession areas are clean and inviting. I even joined our cleaning staff to make sure I understood how it all works - the same day that President Obama visited us at a Mystics game.

• We’ve added LED displays at courtside for Wizards games that look great and also allowed us to offer an additional eight courtside “dream seats.” We will be offering free food and drink for our VIP seat-holders, and we’ve built a number of new VIP areas for those fans. The one I’m most excited about is the new Owner’s Club, where those VIP seat-holders will be able to mingle during and after games.

These are only a few of the changes we’ve made, and we’re not even close to being done. Take a look at our To-Do List and you can see the items that are checked off as well as other items that are in progress. There are still changes around the corner, too, like reinstituting the Wizards red, white and blue uniforms, but not everything can be completed in 101 days. Dick Patrick, Monumental Sports & Entertainment COO and president of the Capitals, and his staff have been working extremely hard on all of these changes, and we think when you come to Verizon Center for a game or concert, you definitely will notice and appreciate their hard work.

I admire the level of engagement demonstrated by our fans as I assembled the list, and I do firmly believe in our collective wisdom. We are in this together - to improve your experience at Verizon Center and to build championship-caliber teams that will make all of us proud.

This is a process, and our staff has worked extremely hard to make as many of these changes as quickly as possible. But please be assured that we won’t stop listening. Obtaining your feedback makes all of us better and puts us in a position to better serve you. So I am always cognizant of that, no matter how many changes we have made or may make, I will believe in the wisdom of our crowds.

So take a look at the list and see what changes will impact you the most. You asked. We listened, and we are doing our best to deliver.

Your feedback is always welcome here.

Mr. 19134
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They should change their name

They should change their name back to the Bullets next year go with Red and White as their colors and feature Rambo as their mascot complete with a uniform that features a belt of 5.56 rounds wrapped around their uniforms.

That would make them my favorite team in all of professional sports.

And it would also set up John Wall for having one of the coolest nicknames of all time.

"The Speeding Bullet"

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I hope #31 happens. They need

I hope #31 happens. They need to change their name back to the Bullets. That used to be the coolest team nickname. If Ted Leonsis did this, he would be GOD.

And I agree Mr. 19134

Ted, you now have one of the fastest players in the league. Faster than a speeding bullet. The name actually fits the style of team you’re trying to build.

And it's so cool that a professional sports franchise has an owner that reads and responds to every email you sen him. Its like an interactive team, there is a seat at the table for every single fan that wants to be a part of the discussion. Great way to get DC reinvested in the team, Go Ted and Go Bul…er Wizards!

Mr. 19134
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Yeah Ted is doing a great job

Yeah Ted is doing a great job down in Washington.

This reminds me of what Pat Croce did as the Sixers president when A.I. took us to the finals. He got the whole city to shave their head bald for that playoff run and would stand outside and hand out coffee and hot chocolate to everybody in line for the game. He was also the sole reason Iverson was still in the city he sat down with A.I. and Larry Brown and made them work together, and it did work.

It;s kinda sad that the highlight of his career was that season and the game 1 finals victory over the Lakers who were undefeated in the playoffs going into that game. But hey if this was college basketball, or the NFL the Sixers would have one the title. And I can't even describe how exciting that whole year was with Croce and A.I. it was like a magical roller coaster they gave our city memories that will never fade. Not even with extended drug use.

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2022 post and McDunkin you

2022 post and McDunkin you finally post something I like

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