SBD/September 7, 2011/Franchises

WNBA Atlanta Dream Investors To Take Over Ownership From Kathy Betty

Betty has owned the Dream since '09

The WNBA Atlanta Dream on Saturday announced the transition of team ownership to investors Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler from Managing Partner Kathy Betty, pending approval from the WNBA BOG. Brock and Loeffler joined Betty in January '11 as the only all-female ownership group of an Atlanta professional sports team (Dream). In Atlanta, Christopher Seward noted when Betty bought the team in '09, it was "losing about $3 million." During Betty's "first year as owner, aided by a team that made it to the league finals before succumbing, the red ink was reduced." The added investments from Brock and Loeffler are "expected to bolster team finances as it attempts to boost its marketing efforts to attract more fans" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/4).

TAKING IT STRONG TO THE HOOP: The AP's Vin Cherwoo noted WNBA attendance "rose again this year and TV viewership is at its highest level since 2005 as the league's 15th season heads into the final stretch." The WNBA reported that attendance through the final week in August had "increased by about 2 percent ... compared to a corresponding point last season, marking the fifth straight year of improvement." This season's attendance growth "is being driven by big increases" for the Sky (30.5%), Mystics (14.5%) and Lynx (13.3%), and the league said that six other teams "also reported rising numbers." Cherwoo noted the improvement has occurred while the Liberty, "who averaged a league-leading 11,069 at Madison Square Garden last year, have seen a 31 percent decrease in their first of three seasons at Prudential Center" while MSG undergoes renovations. Additionally, ESPN last week said that the net's 12 regular-season broadcasts "drew an average of 270,000 viewers -- an increase of 5 percent from last year and the highest figure since 2005." It is the "third straight year those numbers have gone up." WNBA President Laurel Richie said, "All of our key metrics are pointing in the right direction" (AP, 9/2).

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