Monumental Sports and Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis will launch a full-fledged digital network this week in what is the first step toward setting up his own local TV channel.
The broadband sports and entertainment channel will be called Monumental Network and will feature programming related to the teams and Washington, D.C.-area arenas operated by Leonsis’ company, including the NHL Capitals, NBA Wizards, WNBA Mystics and those teams’ Verizon Center home.
“We want to become a cable network,” Leonsis said. “This is a next-generation property that could very easily exist on cable or satellite as well as the Web.”
Currently, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic controls the Capitals’ and Wizards’ local TV rights and will do so for the next several years: The Caps’ rights are tied up for the next five years; the Wizards’ for the next 10. In an interview last week, Leonsis was complimentary of Comcast SportsNet, calling it a “great relationship.” He did not discuss the possibility of bringing his teams’ rights to his network, but that clearly appears to be a long-term option for the former AOL executive.