By Geoffrey Greene (SFS ’08)
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On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, GEMA DC (in association with the Georgetown Club of Metropolitan Washington DC and the Hoya Hoop Club) hosted “GEMA Night at the Washington Wizards” which featured lower-bowl seats to the Washington Wizards & Indiana Pacers NBA game and a pre-game reception with internet pioneer, professional sports team owner, investor, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and most importantly, fellow Hoya Ted Leonsis (C’77) at the Verizon Center.
Leonsis is perhaps best-known as the owner of the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA) – as well as the Verizon Center.
Leonsis addressed the 100-plus crowd as his Wizards were about to tip-off against former Georgetown Hoya Basketball Center Roy Hibbert (C’08) and the Indiana Pacers: “I like Roy Hibbert a lot—not tonight.”
Leonsis, also Vice Chairman Emeritus of AOL, traced the beginning of his fascinating and multifaceted career to Hilltop Jesuit icon Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, who first challenged him to tap the power of the sole computer on campus to trace the genesis of Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea.” A few years later, Leonsis had established his first Internet start-up at the age of 25. “Georgetown taught me that a vision without execution is hallucination,” said Leonsis.
For those considering a career in sports industry management, Leonsis struck a note of caution to those who are only in it for the money: “These are small businesses, and you really have to love it.” Even so, he spoke of how rewarding it is to enrich and transform communities through sports: “Where we’re standing today was once prostitution, drug-dealing, and adult bookstores, and now it’s a center of glamor!”
GEMA would like to thank the Georgetown Club of Metropolitan Washington DC, the Hoya Hoop Club, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment for their support.
GEMA would also like to thank the evening’s sponsor, the Georgetown University’s Sports Industry Management (SIM) graduate program. With a Master of Professional Studies degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown, one gains the real-world skills, industry experience, and relationships they need to achieve their goals and find the best opportunities. For more information on SIM please visit http://scs.georgetown.edu/sports.