Wednesday, April 15, 2009
This is a reprint of an earlier list of mine. Some changes since June of 2008:
a) the Houston Comets are no more, and
b) neither is former Shock and Pistons owner William Davidson, may he rest in peace.
Atlanta Dream -- Ron Terwilliger
Terwillinger is not only a homebuilder, he's been one on a massive scale for more than 20 years. He's the chairman/CEO of Trammell Crow Residential, which builds apartments and condominiums, and invested $10 million dollars in the new Atlanta Dream. A philanthropist, Terwilliger is said to be "very rich". However, he's also 68. I suspect that Terwilliger can float the Dream as long as he wants to. He has at least enough money to have made a bid at owning the Braves.
Chicago Sky -- Michael Alter
Alter is another real estate developer, in Alter's case, commercial real estate. (The company runs about $750 billion in projects.) Alter was also well off enough to throw down a theoretical $10 million for the Sky.
Connecticut Sun -- the Mohegan Indian Tribe
The Sun is the only team in the WNBA that is owned by an ethnic group. Its primary money is from casino gambling, which rakes in over $1 billion a year.
Detroit Shock -- Karen Davidson
Karen Davidson is the wife of the former owner of the Detroit Pistons, the late William Davidson. He was a billionaire ($3.5 billion), so money was no problem for him. He got the money manufacturing architectual and automotive glass, and his widow Karen was bequeathed a nice chunk of that money. The question is, does Karen care about the success of the Shock as much as Davidson did?
Indiana Fever -- Herbert and Melvin Simon
The Simons are billionaires, who also own the Indiana Pacers. They are pretty much America's biggest shopping mall owners. Although the Simons 82 (Mel) and 74 (Herb) are the owners Mel's oldest son David (47) is the current CEO of the company. I suspect the control of the Fever will remain in the hands of the Simons, but the Simons are rumbling about leaving Indiana.
New York Liberty -- Cablevision (Charles and James Dolan)
The Dolans run the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden as well. Cablevision earns about $5 billion a year, and a deal is in process to make the company private. I doubt that the Dolans are going to run out of cash anytime soon.
Washington Mystics -- Lincoln Holdings
The partnership known as Lincoln Holdings also owns the Washington Capitals, the Wizards, and the Verizon Center. The majority owner is Ted Leonsis. Leonsis's money is computer money -- he's an AOL executive. I would venture to say that he's financially secure. However, the team's president is another partner at Lincoln Holdings, Sheila Johnson. Johnson is the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and a billionaire.
Los Angeles Sparks -- Carla Christofferson and Kathy Goodman
Christofferson is a full partner at age 32 in the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, a major Los Angeles entertainment-industry law firm. Kathy Goodman helped start an independent production and finance company called Intermedia Films and was a former executive. She now works as a high school teacher. Together, they put up the theoretical $10 million it took to buy the Sparks.
Minnesota Lynx -- Glen Taylor
Glen Taylor is a billionaire and was an influential Minnesota politician, making his money from the manufacture of specialized printed materials, like wedding invitations. He owns the Timberwolves and would like to own the Twins and the Vikings. Worth over $2 billion.
Phoenix Mercury -- Robert Sarver
Sarver is the current majority owner of the Mercury. He was the founder of the National Bank of Arizona, which for a long time was Arizona's largest independent bank. He also acquired several other banks, serves as CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation and is the owner of the Phoenix Suns. He is worth around $400 million.
Sacramento Monarchs -- The Maloof Family
Headed by Joe and Gavin Maloof, the Maloofs made their cash in hotels, casinos, and alcohol distribution. Each of the Maloof brothers is supposedly worth $100 million.
San Antonio Silver Stars -- Peter Holt
Holt made his cash in farm equipment, building up a small Caterpillar dealership into one of the largest in the country. He's worth $80 million, and thankfully for the Silver Stars, he's a big believer in supporting the San Antonio community.
Seattle Storm -- Force 10 Hoops LLC
Force 10 Hoops LLC is a group of four Storm season-ticket holders that wanted to make sure the Storm stayed in Seattle if the SuperSonics left. They range from a philanthropist to an ex-Deputy Mayor to two former executives at Microsoft. They pooled together the $10 million dollars it took to purchase the Storm.