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Maloofs Terminate WNBA Monarchs Operations In Sacramento
Published November 23, 2009
|Maloofs Terminate Monarchs Operations To
Focus More On Struggling NBA Kings
BAY WINDOW: In Seattle, Jayda Evans noted the WNBA said that "investors from the Bay Area are looking to purchase the team," though a source "could not confirm if it's the same investors the league has been in discussions with for about four years." The Warriors, who play at Oracle Arena, "have expressed passing interest, but have since nixed any idea of owning a WNBA team" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/20). FANHOUSE.com's Michelle Smith noted Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan has been "pursuing an ownership group for a WNBA team for months," and said that she has "been in active talks with potential owners in Oakland and has met with Orender." Oakland Coliseum Authority Chair Scott Hagerty, whose organization oversees Oracle Arena, said that a WNBA franchise "would be welcome in the area, but it is important to 'approach things cautiously' because of the arena's existing relationship with the Warriors, its main tenant" (FANHOUSE.com, 11/21). Kaplan Friday said the WNBA is "very serious" about potentially moving the team to Oracle (MERCURYNEWS.com, 11/20).
SURPRISE, SURPRISE? ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel noted the WNBA's interest in the Bay Area has "been long brewing," and the "idea of the Monarchs being shifted southwest has been floated by WNBA observers in years past." But the Maloofs' "commitment previously seemed firm," and their decision to "abandon the Monarchs was kept hidden until the last second, so that even team members and employees were surprised." However, Voepel wrote "perhaps it's really not that big a shock." The Kings have "faced come financial worries, coupled with the Maloofs' disenchantment with 21-year-old Arco Arena." The Maloof's divestment in the WNBA "continues a trend of NBA owners leaving the women's league." Among the other 12 active WNBA franchises, there are "seven independent owners and five NBA owners" (ESPN.com, 11/20). Monarchs coach & GM John Whisenant said, "I am shocked. Joe and Gavin called me (Thursday) night and told me. I was kept in the dark like everyone else. ... This was really a surprise to me" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/20). At presstime, 31% of 715 respondents to an online poll said they will miss the Monarchs. Thirty-six percent said they "can take or leave" the Monarchs, while the remaining 32% said "good riddance" (SACBEE.com, 11/23).