Theodore John Leonsis was born on January 8, 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. He is a businessman, investor, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and former politician. He is a former senior executive with America Online (AOL), and the founder, chairman, and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. He is also founding member and investor in the Revolution Growth Fund, which includes investments in FedBid, Resonate Insights, Optoro, and CustomInk.
He is the founder and chairman of SnagFilms, which produced the documentary film Nanking. The film was honored with the 2009 News & Documentary Emmy Award. In 2010, he wrote the book The Business of Happiness.
Washington Capitals (NHL)
Leonsis is also the owner of the Washington Capitals. He has owned the Capitals since the spring of 1999, and in that timeframe, the team has won ten Southeast Division titles, three Presidents’ Trophies, recorded more than 200 consecutive sellouts at Verizon Center (now Capital One Arena). On June 7, 2018, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup Championship by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4 games to 1. This was the first Stanley Cup victory in the history of the Washington Capitals.
Washington Wizards (NBA)
Leonsis became the majority owner of the Washington Wizards in June 2010, inheriting a team that had 26 wins and 56 losses during the previous season. During Leonsis’ tenure as owner, the Wizards have compiled a promising young nucleus of players. Leonsis was chairman of the NBA’s 2014 media committee that negotiated a nine-year expanded partnership with Turner Broadcasting and The Walt Disney Company.
“People think philanthropy is all about writing checks.
My mom was always the person doing bake sales.“
Is Ted Leonsis Greek?
Leonsis was born in Brooklyn, New York to a family of working-class Greek immigrant parents and grandparents who were mill workers, who worked as a waiter and a secretary. When his high school guidance counselor evaluated his skill set, the counselor concluded that young Ted was destined to work in a grocery store. Leonsis also reflects on his working-class roots that being a grocery store manager was all his dad aspired him to be.
He was first in his family to go to university where he attended Georgetown University to pursue his undergraduate studies majoring in American Studies and graduated in 1977 at the top of his class.
In his own words, from an interview to the National Herald:
…remembering his grandparents coming to America and changing their family name from Leoutsakos to Leonsis and settling in one of the major Greek enclaves during the early part of the 20th Century.
“They were immigrants, but they essentially were refugees,” Leonsis told the paper.“The Yugoslavs and the Turks were overrunning Greece and they left with everything they had in a trunk and took a steamer to New York.”