Businesswoman Kathy Betty new owner of WNBA’s Atlanta Dream

By Charles Odum, AP
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kathy Betty new owner of Atlanta Dream

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Dream will remain in Atlanta under new ownership.

Kathy Betty will replace Ron Terwilliger as the managing partner of the Dream, WNBA president Donna Orender announced Thursday.

Terwilliger has sought investors since the team’s 2008 inaugural season. The Dream reached the playoffs this year after finishing with a 18-16 record. It was the second-largest turnaround in WNBA history after winning just four games in their first season.

The team will be owned by Dream Too, LLC, an investment group led by Betty. The deal is pending approval of the WNBA Board of Governors.

Betty serves as the CEO of the Garry Betty Foundation to fund cancer research, established by her late husband, the former Earthlink CEO.

Orender credited Atlanta city council president and mayoral candidate Lisa Borders for “saving the Dream.”

“The Dream belongs in Atlanta,” Orender said. “Lisa understands that and so do I. In the midst of a tough political campaign, she carved out time to bring sponsorships to the table and find investors who will make the Dream a continued reality for the staff, players and, of course, our fans.”

Betty said the Dream provide “accessible and affordable world-class entertainment for the families of Atlanta.”

“In addition, the fact that these women serve as role models for youth, and especially young girls, is something I feel strongly about,” she said.

Behind Angel McCoughtry, the top pick in the 2009 draft, the Dream improved from 4-30 in 2008 to two games above .500 this season while advancing to the playoffs.

McCoughtry, who was selected rookie of the year, was supported by teammates Iziane Castro Marques, Sancho Lyttle, Erika de Souza and Chamique Holdsclaw. Marynell Meadors, also the team’s general manager, was named coach of the year for the team’s 14-game improvement.

“I am confident Kathy’s passion for the game and the Atlanta community, as well as her vision for the Dream, will ensure that the team continues to build on its strong start,” Orender said.

Average attendance for Atlanta home games dipped from 8,316 in 2008 to 7,102 in 2009.

The league says its average attendance was 8,039, a slight increase from the 2008 average.

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