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A Letter From Ted Leonsis – May 2024


fans,

As the Mystics take the field for their home opener tonight, there is an unmistakable buzz surrounding the team. I couldn’t be more thrilled by the excitement and growing demand for our women’s team, but to be clear, this is no surprise, this is our vision coming to fruition. Our ownership group, among the most durable groups in the WNBA, believes strongly in the transformative power of women’s sports and has invested strategically to fill market gaps.

The results now speak for themselves:

  • High viewership: Television viewership for WNBA games has increased, More than doubled from 2019 to 2023Which indicates a breadth of appeal that goes beyond traditional sports demographics.
  • Enthusiasm day project: Nearly 2.5 million viewers tuned in to the 2024 WNBA Draft in the United States — nearly five times last year’s viewership.
  • Great participation from local fans: Last season, Mystics fans consistently filled the Entertainment and Sports Arena beyond its capacity, with an average attendance of 4,391 fans per game.
  • Record sales: For the first time in our franchise history, we have achieved seven-figure sales for a single game – the upcoming game against the Fever at Capital One Arena on June 7. Sales continue to grow daily as excitement for the season builds.

The data speaks volumes: There is an obvious passion for women’s basketball, especially for the Mystics. With continued investment, I believe we will continue to see tremendous growth. Here is our roadmap:

It’s all about investing: Two years ago, we invested in the WNBA’s historic capital raise – the largest investment in a women’s sports property. This was a business decision and served as a signal to the industry and fans alike that the Mystics were poised for significant growth. This result allowed the league to make significant progress in increasing the popularity of the sport and better reaching all potential fans.

Game day experience: Our fans deserve an exceptional matchday experience, and we have created to meet that expectation.

  • the tickets. We were the first team in the league to offer variable and dynamic pricing, improving the ticketing experience to generate the revenue the team needs to continue to grow.
  • Scalable. If you haven’t been to ESA, please go! The atmosphere is electric. And with our ability now to bring four games per year (plus the playoffs) to Capital One Arena when fan demand exceeds ESA capacity, we’re ready to amplify that excitement even further.
  • Capital One Arena renovations. Most of the improvements we’ve made at Capital One Arena over the next several years are scheduled to take place during the Mystics season, so we’re looking at options to maintain that scalability. The team is ready to adapt and continue its upward trajectory, and we will ensure that the team has every opportunity to grow and succeed.

Enhance player facilities: Tournament success begins with superior preparation. Co-located at ESA, the Mystics share their training space with the Wizards, creating a supportive community. This includes access to the same high-quality facilities and equipment used by magicians, ensuring high-level training environments. Additionally, the Mystics enjoy chef-created meals tailored to meet their specific nutritional needs, enhancing their health and performance. As we develop a new training facility for the Wizards, the Mystics will have a full facility with training and support staff, nutrition programs, and specialized enhancements designed to improve female athletes’ performance.

A revolution in media coverageWe have made great strides in enhancing the visibility of women’s sports. Early in my tenure with the team, we (successfully) urged The Washington Post to offer a dedicated WNBA tab on its website. Now, as Chairman of the NBA’s Media Committee, I witness first-hand the high value that media companies place on women’s sports programming. To continue to grow our fanbase, excitement and brand awareness, it is essential that we have high-quality programming for fans at home. Beginning last season, our organization was committed to producing, broadcasting and broadcasting all Mystics games available locally on the Monumental Sports Network. Additionally, Monumental Sports Network was and remains the only local programmer offering pregame and postgame coverage along with live Mystics games. Our network will also feature new original programming and magazine-style documentaries that will bring fans closer to our amazing athletes this summer. So, while women’s sports coverage Historically lagging behind in dynamism And depth compared to men, we have previously invested and will continue to invest in providing our region with the strongest WNBA team coverage of any team across the league. Viewers at home can expect the same high-quality product from MNMT that they would expect from a Wizards or Capitals game, designed specifically for Mystics fans.

As we reflect on our journey, the evidence is clear: our bold bets on the Sufis were well-founded. With every step we take, we reaffirm our commitment to raising the bar to a higher level. Looking ahead, the WNBA’s media rights are up for renewal in 2025, making 2024 a crucial year for laying the financial foundation for the next decade. Therefore, to those who doubted the potential of our women’s teams, I proudly say: “We told you so.” To our fans, partners and players I say: “Rest assured, we are just getting started.”

-Ted



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