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CSN, Monumental Sports & Entertainment form advanced media partnership

CSN, Monumental Sports & Entertainment form advanced media partnership

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) and CSN Mid-Atlantic, part of NBC Sports Group, today announced an advanced media partnership that extends CSN Mid-Atlantic’s exclusive media rights for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards and features an investment by NBC Sports Group in Monumental Sports Network, MSE’s digital sports and entertainment platform. The agreement is pending NHL and NBA approval.

Through an innovative cross-equity and leadership structure, MSE becomes an equity partner in CSN Mid-Atlantic and receives representation on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s board of directors. CSN Mid-Atlantic – which has served as the teams’ regional television partner since its launch in 1984 – will continue to present live coverage of all non-nationally exclusive Capitals and Wizards regular-season and playoff games, as well as select preseason games, comprehensive gameday shows and expanded original content on established and emerging media platforms via television and live streaming.

As part of a venture capital investment, NBC Sports Group obtains an equity partnership in Monumental Sports Network, as well as representation on its board of directors. Monumental Sports Network will soon launch a subscription over-the-top (OTT), direct-to-consumer service offering live-streaming of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and AFL’s Washington Valor games, as well as additional live events and games through soon-to-be-announced content partnerships.

“We are so happy that our longstanding partnership with CSN Mid-Atlantic will continue well into the future, offering Wizards and Caps fans a fantastic home entertainment experience, while providing Monumental Sports & Entertainment a stake in CSN Mid-Atlantic, all of which will better position our teams to compete and provide our fans with lifelong memories,” said Ted Leonsis, founder, chairman, majority owner and CEO of MSE. “This is a really unique deal, reinforcing our position in the heart of the nation’s fastest-growing Super City and reflecting the power of our strategy as a multi-brand, multi-platform sports and entertainment media company. We’re especially pleased that by investing in our Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Group is embracing the future growth of OTT services that can exist and thrive in parallel with content offered by multichannel video programming distributors and other content distributors. This partnership extends possibilities for sports fans at home or on-the-go, whenever and wherever they choose to consume sports content.”

MSE owns and operates Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C., as well as the Wizards, Capitals, Mystics and Valor, and is co-owner of aXiomatic, which has a controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid. MSE also operates Kettler Capitals Iceplex and EagleBank Arena and is participating in Events DC’s development of St. Elizabeths East into an entertainment and sports community.

“Ted and his team at MSE share in our passion to super serve fans with compelling content surrounding the sports they love, both now and in the future,” said David Preschlack, president, NBC Sports Regional Networks. “Our new relationship furthers our mission to explore innovative partnerships and offerings in the new media and OTT space as we strive to offer maximum value to our team partners, distributors, advertisers, and especially the fans.”

In addition to the Capitals and Wizards, CSN Mid-Atlantic is the official sports network of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, and the region’s home for live ACC and CAA games. CSN Mid-Atlantic delivers more than 400 live games per year, along with Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and entertainment programming, to more than 4.5 million homes in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

“CSN Mid-Atlantic is dedicated to providing fans with the highest-quality, most comprehensive coverage of the Capitals and Wizards, and the new partnership with MSE will allow us to continue and expand on that in many new and exciting ways,” said Rebecca Schulte, president of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “While enhancing our longtime position as a valuable asset for fans, affiliates and advertisers, we can also extend our collective reach through complementary platforms and content.”

“At Monumental Sports Network, we’re especially thrilled to have NBC Sports Group become an equity partner, not only because of the way we now can work together, but also because of what their investment says about the potential of OTT platforms and live-event streaming,” said Zach Leonsis, vice president and general manager of Monumental Sports Network. “We look forward to announcing new, exclusive sports and entertainment content in the weeks ahead, in addition to providing subscribers with the ability to stream Mystics and Valor games when our AFL team begins playing in 2017. Stay tuned for future announcements on the great programming we’ll offer exclusively.”

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.