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Local Ownership Group Secures Option to Purchase Seattle Storm


Gilder

Levinson
January 8, 2008
SEATTLE - WNBA President Donna Orender announced today that a select group of Seattle businesswomen and civic leaders has secured an exclusive option to purchase the Seattle Storm.

“Today is a great day for Storm fans. Seattle is a terrific WNBA city and I’m thrilled for Storm fans who have been so supportive of their team over the years,” Orender said. “What this group of women is doing is yet another example of that famous Seattle civic leadership. I have no doubt that this group of women, with support from the public, business community and elected officials, will be able to make a strong case for this sale to be approved by the Board of Governors.”


Brummel

Trudeau
"We are pleased to be able to step forward to ensure that Seattle will be the Storm’s home," said Anne Levinson, who led the negotiations and is part of the new ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C. "This is something we wanted to be able to do for Storm fans and the community. I want to thank Clay Bennett for working with us on this."

"In the time we have been a part of the WNBA we have consistently been impressed by the very loyal fan base and broad community support the Storm enjoys. We believe the Storm can continue to be successful in KeyArena. We are pleased we have been able to negotiate a transaction with an extraordinary group of highly accomplished women. Through our extensive negotiations we have become convinced that their commitment to the community and passion for the game will result in a secure and promising future for the Seattle Storm. We knew the right thing to do for Seattle was to work with Anne’s group to see if we could make this happen. We will assist them in any way we can to ensure a smooth transition and wish them the very best," said Clay Bennett, Chairman of the Professional Basketball Club, LLC that owns the Seattle SuperSonics and the Women’s Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC, owner of the Seattle Storm.

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In addition to Levinson, other members of the new ownership group are philanthropists and businesswomen who also have deep roots in Seattle and a history of civic involvement. Ginny Gilder owns an investment business and is president of one of her family’s philanthropic entities, which invests in projects throughout the world that seek to level the economic playing field and promote social justice. She was the founding Executive Director of Washington Works, a local non-profit dedicated to supporting welfare recipients in obtaining and retaining livable-wage employment. A rower, she won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.

Lisa Brummel is the senior vice president for Human Resources at Microsoft, and a member of Microsoft’s senior management team. For 10 years prior to that, she served as corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Home & Retail Division. As head of this billion-dollar division, she was responsible for overseeing worldwide development and business strategy for Microsoft's line of consumer hardware, software and Macintosh products. As an athlete at Yale University, she was named to the Ivy League Women’s Hall of Fame for Softball, MVP on the All-Ivy teams for both basketball and softball, and held a number of university records. She was drafted by the Dallas Diamonds in the 4th round of the 1981 professional women's basketball league draft.

Dawn Trudeau spent over 20 years in the software industry, the last 14 in leadership positions at Microsoft, heading up divisions in Database and Development tools as well as Consumer Products. For the past nine years she has helped emerging non-profits to develop the capacity to deliver their programs with maximum effectiveness. She chairs the Board of Economic Opportunity Institute, serves on the Advisory Board for the Business Partnership for Early Learning, and the boards of Social Venture Partners International and the University of Washington Women’s Center.

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The group was brought together by Levinson, who served as a public official for nearly two decades, as a judge, Chair of Washington State’s Utilities Commission, Deputy Mayor and Legal Counsel to the Mayor of Seattle. She directed several high profile negotiations and reforms for the City, led efforts against energy deregulation while chairing the Utility Commission and founded one of the nation’s first mental health courts as a judge. She has founded or served on the board of directors for dozens of Seattle charitable organizations. Levinson has a long history of involvement with Title IX, and was instrumental in Seattle acquiring its first professional women’s basketball team, the Seattle Reign.

Governor Chris Gregoire expressed her support for the purchase, “As Governor and as a Storm fan, I think this is a terrific result. This group of accomplished women has made this possible because of their strong commitment to the community. They also know first-hand that being able to compete in the top echelon of sports provides women with opportunities generations who came before us never had.”

Washington State’s senior U.S. Senator Patty Murray agreed, “The Storm is one of the things that make our state special, providing a great family experience for fans throughout the northwest. This is good news for the community, the League and the players who have made this region their home.”

“The Legislature has many Storm fans on both sides of the aisle,” added Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. “Storm players are wonderful role models for the next generation of girls and boys. I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in helping the Storm have continued success. Go Storm!”

The Storm will be the seventh WNBA team to be owned and run by an entity outside of the NBA. They will continue to play home games at the KeyArena, located at the Seattle Center. 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 who want to show support for the Storm and new local owners, season tickets and special ticket packages can be purchased by calling 206 -217-WNBA or on-line at www.storm.wnba.com.


Terms of the Sale:

  • Exclusive Option for Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C. to purchase the team for $10MM
  • Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C. has until the end of February to close
  • In January and February, the new owners will complete the due diligence, gather public, business community and government support to show the Storm can be successful as a ‘stand-alone’ franchise (no longer sharing operational costs with an NBA team) and then seek approval from the WNBA Board of Governors