WNBA Expands to Atlanta

WNBA President Donna Orender announced today that the City of Atlanta has been awarded a WNBA expansion team for the 2008 season. The new team will be owned and operated by Atlanta businessman J. Ronald Terwilliger.

"As a great sports town and a region that enthusiastically supports women's athletics, Atlanta is a terrific destination for the WNBA," said Orender. "This is a family-oriented community with tremendous civic pride. I am confident that as a world-class sports league providing great family entertainment, the WNBA will be embraced here for years to come."

Since 1986, Terwilliger, 66, has been chairman and chief executive officer of Trammell Crow Residential, a national residential real estate company and the largest developer of multi-family housing in the United States. An honor graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Terwilliger's serves as vice chairman of the International Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity among various community endeavors. The Arlington, VA native is also the former chairman of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership.

Atlanta had high television ratings for WNBA games on both ABC and ESPN this past year and the city mobilized behind the effort to get a franchise. From the president of the Atlanta City Council to the president of Central Atlanta Progress to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta's leadership was aggressive and determined to make the team happen. "Today's event is the culmination of a community-wide campaign to bring a WNBA franchise to Atlanta," said Lisa Borders, president of the Atlanta City Council.

The Atlanta franchise, which will choose a name, logo, colors and head coach at a later date, brings the number of teams in the WNBA to 14. Atlanta will join the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Detroit Shock, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Washington Mystics in the Eastern Conference.