The W.N.B.A.’s Atlanta Dream, which had been co-owned by former Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, is being sold to an ownership group that includes Larry Gottesdiener, the chairman of the real estate equity firm Northland, Suzanne Abair, the firm’s chief operating officer, and Renee Montgomery, a former star of the team. Gottesdiener will be the majority owner.
The team had long been on the market, but talks to sell ramped up in recent months. The Dream had been in the spotlight over the past year after its players, most of whom are Black, publicly denounced Loeffler, a Republican, for attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. The players’ union called for Loeffler’s ouster, and players across the league campaigned for the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who was running for her Senate seat. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the league would not force Loeffler to sell her stake, but also said that her comments did not align with the league’s values.
Over the summer, Loeffler repeatedly said that she would not sell her stake in the team. She attributed the criticism of her to “cancel culture,” though her efforts to sell the franchise were essentially an open secret.
Loeffler lost to Warnock in a runoff election in January for the Senate seat she had been appointed to, helping give Democrats control of the Senate. Loeffler said this week that she was considering running again.
After Warnock’s victory, Montgomery told The New York Times: “This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen an owner or even a sponsor of a team not align with a team’s thought process. So it’s always going to be a battle, but right now I’m just excited for a win.”
Mary Brock, who had owned a majority of the team since 2011, stayed silent about Loeffler’s Black Lives Matter comments and the backlash from players over the summer. In January, LeBron James, the N.B.A. star, suggested that he might put together an ownership group for the team. Other sports luminaries, like the former N.B.A. star Baron Davis and baseball’s Mookie Betts, had also been linked to sale talks.
This is a developing story.