Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WNBA Owners - Where the Cash Comes From, v. 3

This is a reprint of an earlier list of mine. Some changes since April of 2009:

a) Melvin Simon has died.
b) Update on Dream owner Ron Terwilliger.
c) Update on Jean Davidson.
d) Update on Michael Alter.

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 68-year-old philanthropist, Terwilliger is said to be "very rich". However, Terwilliger began looking for ownership partners for the Dream in August 2009, before the season had concluded. With the recession adversely affecting the real estate market, one wonders how deep ownership's pockets are in Atlanta.

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.) As of 2005, the Alter Group was one of the nation's ten largest commercial real estate developers.

Alter was also well off enough to throw down a theoretical $10 million for the Sky, and will move the Sky to a larger arena in 2010. In August 2009, Alter purchased The New Republic magazine.

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.

In Septmber 2009 Davidson was at best non-committal about the future of the WNBA in Detroit. "I hope they keep it together. But it is an expensive undertaking for the league and the owners. We'll see."

Indiana Fever -- Herbert Simon

With the death of his brother Melvin Simon in 2009, billionaire Herbert Simon owns both the Indiana Fever and Indiana Pacers. He is pretty much America's biggest shopping mall owner. Simon is 74 and his nephew David (47) is the current CEO of the company.

Most of the quotes about the Fever leaving Indiana came from Melvin Simon - can one assume that his brother feels the same way?

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting conglomeration of information... I learned a lot! Thanks!