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Atlanta Dream was offered to Larry Gottesdiener after the Kelly Loeffler controversy

Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream.

Adam Pantozzi | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Kelly Loeffler is no longer a WNBA team owner.

The Women’s National Basketball Association announced Friday that it and the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Atlanta Dream to Larry Gottesdiener, chairman of Northland real estate company.

Other team investors include former dream star Renee Montgomery and Northland President and COO Suzanne Abair.

“With the unanimous WNBA and NBA votes, today marks a fresh start for the Atlanta Dream organization and we are delighted to welcome Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair to the WNBA,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement . “I admire her passion for women’s basketball, but most of all I am impressed by her values.”

In a media call about the sale, Engelbert said Montgomery was a huge “win” for the new owners. She described Montgomery as “a pioneer who made a huge impact both in the game and beyond”. Montgomery, 34, played 11 years in the WNBA, including two seasons with the franchise (2018-19) before retiring on February 9.

“I want to keep growing and we will continue to build momentum in Atlanta for Atlanta Dream,” said Montgomery on the conference call.

Conditions of sale were not provided.

However, the sports bankers paint a picture of the WNBA team ratings and estimate the sale of a larger market team – the New York Liberty – in 2019, which will sell in the $ 10 million to $ 14 million range. Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai now owns the team.

When asked by CNBC to confirm whether sales fell within the price range, Engelbert said the terms were “confidential” but added, “We look forward to continuing the transformation to include all elements of the WNBA for us all Our franchises can offer added value and a valuation for the future. “

Atlanta owner Kelly Loeffler (right) speaks to Dream General Manager Chris Sienko (left) during the WNBA game between the Las Vegas Aces and the Atlanta Dream on September 5, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.

Rich von Biberstein | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Loeffler, the former U.S. Senator from Georgia, lost her Senate seat in the Georgia runoff election in January. It made headlines in July 2020 after speaking out against support for the black social justice team after multiple high profile shootings involving police.

The Dream wore shirts that supported the Black Lives Matter movement and remembered Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky last March. Loeffler wrote to Engelbert to oppose the movement’s support and to express their support for players wearing the American flag on shirts.

After the letter, Dream players used their platform to support their opponent, now US Senator Raphael Warnock. The players wore “Vote Warnock” shirts, which reportedly raised over $ 236,000 for his campaign.

On January 19, reports surfaced that a sale of the dream had been completed. In 2011 Loeffler and Mary Brock took over the majority stake in Dream after the then owner Kathy Betty left the group of owners in 2011.

“That is now a thing of the past, we are looking to the future and a new beginning for the dream players and, to be honest, for the WNBA,” said Engelbert.

The Dream ended 7-15 last season and failed to make the playoffs. The team will select third place in the 2021 WNBA draft.

“It is a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who seek excellence on the field and justice off the field,” said Gottesdiener. “I would like to thank Commissioner Engelbert, Commissioner (Adam) Silver, and the boards of governors of the WNBA and the NBA for the opportunity.”

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