May 6, 2024 - Sports

Ted Leonsis wants to be the "vice mayor of downtown D.C."

Ted Leonsis

Photo: Kenny Giarla/NBAE via Getty Images

Ted Leonsis is getting to work as a booster for downtown D.C. and still has an eye for the Washington Nationals, the billionaire sports owner revealed in an interview on WAMU.

Why it matters: It's a 180 for the guy who just flirted with moving the Capitals and Wizards to Virginia.

πŸ›οΈ Driving the news: Leonsis will join city officials at a retail conference in Las Vegas this month and talk up the District as a place to do business.

  • "I would like to be named an honorary title. Maybe I can be the vice mayor of DDC, the downtown D.C.," Leonsis quipped last Friday on WAMU's "The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi."
  • "What we need is not only companies not leaving but we need to bring companies back in."

Behind the scenes: Leonsis was joined by D.C. Council chair Phil Mendelson in the Capital One Arena owners' box two Sundays ago.

  • He said final discussions for the modernization β€” predicted to span four years during off-seasons β€” are continuing.

⚾️ While the Lerner family has said the Nationals are no longer for sale, Leonsis still sounds interested: "Very, very much so. I love the team, I love the city. That would be a really great addition." (As Cuneyt has written about before, acquiring the Nats would make Leonsis the king of Washington pro sports.)

He threw shade at new sports owner David Rubenstein's pitch for deep-moneyed D.C. execs to buy box seats at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

  • "I didn't like hearing David Rubenstein the other day talking about 'let's bring people and go to Baltimore,'" Leonsis said. "What was that all about?"

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