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WNBA ownership snapshot

By Derick Moss, Senior Market Analyst, SBJ Atlas

Atlanta Dream

First season: 2008
Owners: Larry Gottesdiener, Suzanne Abair and Renee Montgomery (2021)

Gottesdiener is founder and chairman of Northland Investment Corp., which has developed three major Atlanta real estate projects in recent years. Abair, Northland’s president and chief operating officer, and Montgomery, who was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2009 WNBA draft and played two seasons for the Dream before retiring in 2021, are minority owners.

 

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Chicago Sky

First season: 2006
Owner: Michael Alter (2006)

Afterenlisting the help of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to convince Candace Parker to leave the Los Angeles Sparks as an unrestricted free agent and return home to play for the Sky, Alter and the team brought home their first WNBA title in 2021. 

 

 

Connecticut Sun

First season: 1999 (franchise began as the Orlando Miracle 1999-2002)
Owner: Mohegan Tribe (2003)

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Association became the first non-NBA owner in WNBA history, relocating the former Orlando Miracle to the then-new $40 million Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

 

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Dallas Wings

First season: 1998 (franchise began as the Detroit Shock 1998-2009, then played in Tulsa, Okla., 2010-15)
Owner: Bill Cameron (2010)

Cameronhas owned the franchise since 2010 when it played in Oklahoma as the Tulsa Shock. He moved the team to Dallas and rebranded as the Wings in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indiana Fever

First season: 1999
Owner: Herb Simon (1999)

Simon’s succession plan includes leaving the Indiana Pacers and Fever to his son, Steve, with a commitment to keep both teams in Indianapolis after his death.

 

 

 

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Las Vegas Aces

First season: 1997 (franchise began as the Utah Starzz in 1997-2002, then played in San Antonio 2003-17)
Owner: Mark Davis (2021)

Theteam’s 80,000-square-foot training facility, which will house offices, two training courts and a leadership academy, is scheduled to open next spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Los Angeles Sparks

First season: 1997
Owner: Investment group led by Los Angeles Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter, Magic Johnson, Todd Boehly, Robert Patton and Stan Kasten (2014)

TheWNBA took over control of Sparks, one of the WNBA’s original eight teams and a three-time WNBA champion, a month before Magic Johnson, Mark Walter and others bought the team in 2014.

 

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Minnesota Lynx

First season:1999
Owner: Glen Taylor (1999)

Taylor is selling the Timberwolves and the Lynx to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who can become owners of 80% of the teams by 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New York Liberty

First season: 1997
Owner: Joe Tsai (2019)

Tsai has been a longtime proponent of women’s sports. His wife, Clara Wu Tsai, is co-governor of the team and is actively involved in the team’s operations. His daughter, Alex, was a member of Hong Kong’s national women’s lacrosse team.

 

 

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Phoenix Mercury

First season: 1997
Owner: Robert Sarver (2004)

TheMercury have finished in the top three for average fan attendance every year since 2013, and they retained 96% of their season-ticket holders through the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

 

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Seattle Storm

First season: 2000
Owners: Dawn Trudeau, Ginny Gilder and Lisa Brummel (2008)

Theownership group, Force 10 Hoops, also owns an agency responsible for providing production, sales and marketing services to boost the presence and revenue of women’s sports in the U.S.

 

 

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Washington Mystics

First season: 1998
Owners: Ted Leonsis and Sheila Johnson (1998)

Leonsis is chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and Johnson serves as vice chair. She is the only African American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams: the Washington Wizards, Capitals and the Mystics, for which she serves as president and managing partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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