ATLANTA – The WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors have unanimously approved the sale of the Atlanta Dream to Larry Gottesdiener, Chairman of Northland, an industry-leading national real estate firm. The three-member investor group is comprised of former Dream star Renee Montgomery, Northland President and Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Abair, and Gottesdiener.
“With the unanimous WNBA and NBA votes, today marks a new beginning for the Atlanta Dream organization and we are very pleased to welcome Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair to the WNBA,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “I admire their passion for women’s basketball, but more importantly, have been impressed with their values. I am also thrilled that former WNBA star Renee Montgomery will be joining the ownership group as an investor and executive for the team. Renee is a trailblazer who has made a major impact both in the game and beyond.”
“It is a privilege to join a team of inspiring women who strive for excellence on the court and equity off the court,” said Larry Gottesdiener. “I would like to express my gratitude to Commissioner Engelbert, Commissioner Silver, and the WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors for the opportunity.”
Two-time WNBA champion Renee Montgomery will be the first former player to become both an owner and executive of a WNBA team. Montgomery sat out the 2020 season to focus on social justice issues and recently announced her retirement from the league after 11 seasons.
“My Dream has come true,” said Renee Montgomery. “Breaking barriers for minorities and women by being the first former WNBA player to have both a stake in ownership and a leadership role with the team is an opportunity that I take very seriously. I invite you to join me as the Dream builds momentum in Atlanta!”
Founded in 2007, the Dream has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs eight times and has reached the WNBA Finals three times. The team’s former owners, Dream Too LLC, the Atlanta Dream ownership group, purchased the team in 2011.
Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler commented on the transaction saying, “Ten years ago we stepped up to keep the Dream in Atlanta, as an important asset for a vibrant and diverse city. It was also important to us to help level the playing field for women’s professional sports. We are proud of what we accomplished and wish the team well in their next chapter. We will always value the hard work and dedication, and the memories, fans and friendships that sustained our commitment to the Atlanta Dream over the last decade.”
The Dream will play the 2021 season at the Gateway Center Arena at College Park, a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue. The 2021 WNBA regular season schedule will be announced at a later date.
About Larry Gottesdiener
Larry Gottesdiener, Founder and Chairman of Northland Investment Corporation, a $10 billion real estate private equity firm, charts Northland’s long-term strategy, oversees innovative mixed-used developments, and guides philanthropy, engagement, and activism. Northland has been recognized by the industry in lists that include Best Places to Work in Multifamily and Best Places to Work in Multifamily for Women. Northland’s philanthropy is focused on empowering women, combating racism, and ending homelessness.
About the WNBA
Entering its 25th season in 2021, the WNBA is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women. Featuring 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity and inclusion and social responsibility. Through its world-class athletes, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.
In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sports overall – with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete. Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s new partnership platform, WNBA Changemakers. Inaugural WNBA Changemakers include AT&T, Deloitte and Nike. In addition, during the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.