SBD/Issue 231/Franchises

WNBA Mystics President Johnson Looks To Rebuild, Remodel Team

Mystics President Developing Plan
To Rebuild, Remodel Franchise
WNBA Mystics President & Managing Partner Sheila Johnson yesterday during a conference call with reporters "delivered a scathing indictment of her franchise's 11-year history, then announced that she and first-year COO Greg Bibb have developed a new operation philosophy committed to maintaining a sharp front office and a winning roster," according to Mike Fratto of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Johnson: "The Mystics have been operating too long without a long-term plan. In the three years I have been owner and general partner, our thinking has been far too shortsighted and our player-personnel decisions far too needs-based. ... The Mystics have not moved one ounce in their 11-year history, and we've got to start making some changes because it's the only way this team can survive" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/20). In DC, Katie Carrera reports a week after the Mystics traded F Taj McWilliams-Franklin to the Shock, Johnson said that "the deal was the first move in a new era of accountability for the team." Johnson added that the trade "fits into her plan to rebuild the basketball operations and make the team into a perennial WNBA championship contender" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/20).

FAN ATTRACTION: Despite a 10-16 record before the WNBA break for the Beijing Olympics, Mystics officials said that attendance at Verizon Center "rose nearly 1,200 fans a game over last season, a 15[%] bump, with total ticket revenue up 17[%]." In DC, Tim Lemke noted season-ticket sales for the '08 season are "up 20[%] from last season, bringing the team's base to nearly 3,000." Mystics officials said that they "began advertising for season tickets in October, about three months earlier than in past seasons." The sales staff has "doubled and includes more experienced sellers." Bibb said that the team "also has been able to boost sales by offering a wider variety of season ticket plans." So far this season the Mystics have "already surpassed the total ticket revenue from both 2006 and 2007 with four home games left on the schedule." Meanwhile, "revenue from sponsorships, which typically constitute between [40-45%] of all revenue to the team, is up 60[%] this season because of partnerships with Sibley Memorial Hospital, Under Armour and several other high-profile companies" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/19).

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