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WNBA Approves Sale of Seattle Storm to Local Owners

February 28, 2008


SEATTLE - The WNBA Board of Governors has approved the sale of the Seattle Storm to Force 10 Hoops L.L.C., the entity owned by Anne Levinson, Ginny Gilder, Lisa Brummel and Dawn Trudeau, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today.

“Force 10 Hoops presented a compelling case for approval of the sale,” Orender said. “They garnered an impressive array of government, business and public support. That, together with their strong record of civic involvement and business experience, made it clear to us that the Storm has a great future in Seattle. The vote was unanimous.”

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Force 10 Hoops announced on Jan. 8 that it had secured an exclusive option to purchase the Women’s Basketball Club of Seattle, which owns the Storm, from the Professional Basketball Club, L.L.C., the Oklahoma group headed by Clay Bennett. The purchase was contingent on league approval.

“This is an exciting day for all the fans who have been so loyal to the Storm over the years," said Anne Levinson, who negotiated the transaction for Force 10 Hoops and will be the Club’s initial Chairperson. “For us to have been able to provide the league with a letter signed by nearly 1,200 fans, resolutions from government leaders, and strong growth in ticket sales and sponsorships over just the past six weeks speaks to the incredible support from the fans and the community and is evidence of how much this team means to the Seattle region. We want to thank the league and the Board of Governors for their vote of confidence; we are looking forward to a great season.”

The seventh WNBA team to be owned and operated independently from an NBA team, the Storm will continue to play home games at the Seattle Center’s KeyArena.

In October 2002, the NBA Board of Governors approved the transition of WNBA teams from operating agreements to individual ownership rights, allowing WNBA teams to be located in non-NBA markets and owned by non-NBA owners both in and out of NBA cities. The Connecticut Sun, Washington Mystics, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks, Houston Comets and new expansion team, the Atlanta Dream, are the other independently owned teams.

Last week the Storm acquired two-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA All-Star Swin Cash from the Detroit Shock in exchange for the No. 4 pick in the April 9 WNBA Draft. Cash was the second overall pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft out of Connecticut behind Sue Bird. Cash was a member of the 2004 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, a two-time NCAA Champion in 2000 and 2002 at the University of Connecticut, and was named to the Kodak All-American first team in 2002.

Season tickets for the Storm’s 2008 season are on sale now, with the season opener on May 17 against the Chicago Sky. For fans and businesses who want to show support for the Storm and the new local owners, season tickets and group ticket packages can be purchased by calling (206) 217-WNBA or online at www.storm.wnba.com.

Contacts:
WNBA -- Ron Howard, (212) 407-8641, rhoward@nba.com
Seattle Storm -- Tom Savage, (206) 272-2576, tsavage@sonics-storm.com