SBD/Issue 35/Franchises

Atlanta Businesswoman Kathy Betty Purchasing WNBA Dream

Betty's (c) Dream Too Investment Group
Becoming New Owners Of Atlanta Dream
The WNBA Thursday announced that Atlanta businesswoman Kathy Betty's Dream Too investment group will become the new owners of the Atlanta Dream, pending approval by the league's BOG. Betty, who will become the Managing Partner of the team, also serves as the CEO of the Garry Betty Foundation, established by her late husband, former Earthlink CEO Garry Betty (WNBA). In Atlanta, Kristi Swartz noted Betty declined to name the sale price she paid to former Dream Owner Ron Terwilliger. Betty is "currently the sole owner of the team," but said that she is "looking for investors." She said that Central Atlanta Progress President A.J. Robinson "approached her about buying" the team after Terwilliger in August told the WNBA that he "wanted to relinquish his position as primary team owner." It is "unclear whether the Dream was in danger of folding or being moved out of Atlanta, but Betty knows among her challenges is turning a profit." She "must aggressively pursue corporate sponsorships and sell tickets." Betty: "I have to build a compelling business case to the business leaders of Atlanta on how sponsoring the Atlanta Dream will not only help them give back to the community but will also help women-to-women networking. Women have a lot of purchase power, and I have to figure out how that's going to impact their bottom line" (AJC.com, 10/29).

DREAM SCENARIO: ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel wrote it "certainly sounds like this is exactly the type of owner the WNBA needs -- the independent-of-the-NBA owner who has a passion for the product but is also a bottom-line business person." These are the "people who are committed to the concept that women's basketball is a viable entertainment option, but really do understand how to run a business." Similar to Mystics President & Managing Partner Sheila Johnson, Sparks co-Owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson, and Storm Owner Force 10 Hoops, Betty "believes in all the feel-good reasons for supporting the WNBA." But it is "not just about that." She also "truly believes it's a smart investment" (ESPN.com, 10/29).

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