Two new owner-investors buy into Atlanta Dream

Atlanta Dream owner Kathy Betty will announce Tuesday that she will be joined by two new owners who are investing a total of $1 million in the WNBA team.

The new owner-investors are Mary Brock, a philanthropist and wife of Coca-Cola Enterprises chief John Brock, and Kelly Loeffler, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications at Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange.

Betty told the AJC she will go from being the sole owner to managing partner of the all-female ownership group.

In looking for investors, Betty said, “I focused on what would take the Dream and professional sports for women to the next level.” Brock and Loeffler “are about the mission and the vision of the Atlanta Dream — inspiring young girls to play sports,” she said.

That mission can get undermined by the financial realities of pro women’s sports. When Betty bought the team 15 months ago, it was losing about $3 million. But during her first year as owner, aided by a team that made it to the league finals before succumbing, the red ink was reduced — although Betty would not say by how much.

Betty hopes to reduce the financial loss further in the upcoming season and then turn a profit in 2012, which will be difficult. The Dream needs to average about 8,500 paying fans per home game at Philips Arena, but they’ve been coming up short by about 2,000 fans per game.

The added investments from Brock and Loeffler will bolster team finances as it attempts to boost its marketing efforts to attract more fans. Betty said she was “definitely open to additional investors” who shared their vision.

Brock and her husband have been active in the local community. They recently made a $3.5 million commitment for the new Georgia Tech football practice facility. They also have an interest in cancer research, funding chairs in biomedical engineering at Emory University and Georgia Tech.

Loeffler oversees investor relations, public relations, marketing and brand strategy at ICE, which operates electronic trading exchanges for investors around the world. Her husband, Jeff Sprecher, is the company’s chairman and CEO.

The team plans a news conference Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Philips Arena to introduce the new owner-investors.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

62 comments Add your comment

Avid Sports Fan

January 17th, 2011
3:19 pm

Nobody Cares

J111

January 17th, 2011
3:29 pm

I care, and lots of people I know care. If you don’t care, Avid Sports Fan, then don’t comment on these types of stories.

This is great news…congratulations to Kathy Betty and the Dream!

JSS

January 17th, 2011
3:29 pm

@ Real Sports Fans…
The rest of us do care! Congratulations and continued prosperity!!!

Casual Sports Fan

January 17th, 2011
3:40 pm

JayInAtlanta

January 17th, 2011
3:42 pm

Real sports fans and real fans of our city do care. A brand new team from our great city made it to the FINALS of its sport in 3 seasons.

The games are extremely exciting, and my wife and I are proud to be founding season ticket holders. We welcome the two new owners joining Kathy Betty. GO DREAM!

AT

January 17th, 2011
3:51 pm

@avid sports fan: your name should be avid douche bag! you obviously care enough to post about it! get a life!

YAY!

January 17th, 2011
3:54 pm

I care… GO DREAM!!

Betty FriedSpam

January 17th, 2011
3:56 pm

There are not 50 people in the metro who could name a player on the Dream team.

Why it's a Ruger, thank you!

January 17th, 2011
3:58 pm

Avid Sports Fan (NOT) has had his few minutes of fame, so forget him….let’s all be happy with and keep supporting the Dream. As a fan I am psyched to watch the Dream play…unlike the men, they play with all their heart and soul every game…I’m proud of them!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by hoopfeed.com, ajc sports editor and others. ajc sports editor said: Two new owners, both women, buy into @AtlantaDream http://bit.ly/hbtrry [...]

Dave

January 17th, 2011
4:10 pm

I’m just happy a team makes it to the finals and doesn’t choke before then unlike some certain “Dirty Birds.”

LagDawg

January 17th, 2011
4:20 pm

I hope that the dream gets more support from the fans this year. They had an amazing season and I hope that they continue to flourish. I am a male and fully support the team. People need to understand that not only men play the sport of basketball but, women also and they put more into it than the men. They put their all into it and it is not just about money to them. Everybody need to give the same support to them as they do the Hawks. The Dream almost brought the city a championship last year. They have accomplished just as much if not more than the Hawks, Braves and the Falcons. Everybody, go out and suppor the dream. The arena should be filled every night.

chalkdawg4

January 17th, 2011
4:36 pm

I could think of about a million better ways to spend a million dollars. Looks like they are setting up for a tax writeoff. Good luck.

Manny

January 17th, 2011
4:37 pm

I think this is a good move. The Atlanta Dream is a quality product that is very entertaining. Plus, the Dream is the only team in Atlanta that has even sniffed a championship in years. The fact that you don’t know who they are is evident that the Dream needs more financial support for promotions because the girls can ball.

gcs

January 17th, 2011
4:44 pm

It must be nice to have money to burn on this money pit.

.

Mark

January 17th, 2011
4:48 pm

Perhaps some of Atlanta’s business elites could purchase 2000 tickets to some percentage of total games and give them away to APS and metro-county school systems.

Mike

January 17th, 2011
4:52 pm

Imagine the attendance if the team played at the Gwinnett Civic Center. Most of the fans I know won’t go downtown to see a game more than once a month because of the hassles.

Stockdog

January 17th, 2011
5:00 pm

I think that Ms. Betty has done a great job with the Dream. I hope her all the luck in the world. I am not into the WNBA, but my granddaughter, who is 4 enjoys watching basketball with me. So, I may take her to a few games this year.

hoopz

January 17th, 2011
5:01 pm

If the vision is to inspire young girls to play sports, as the article says, why not invest all that money in youth sports?

Lenny

January 17th, 2011
5:03 pm

I believe Mike is correct abot the Gwinnett Civic Center,free parking,a wonderful arena and you don’t have to be worried about your car getting a ticket or towed.Plus a much more secure area to be in and easy access to I85!

CJ

January 17th, 2011
5:18 pm

By far, the Dream is my favorite ATL team. Not only do those girls go out and play each game with their hearts, they also are community-focused. I think everyone should go out and watch at least one game before making a comment. I guarantee you’ll be hooked like me. Thank you ladies who play and you ladies who pay for them to play. LET’S GO DREAM!!!

Dream Founding Fan

January 17th, 2011
5:26 pm

YAY Dream, a team that doesn’t CHOKE in the first round of the playoffs!!!!

BufordTDawg

January 17th, 2011
5:34 pm

The WNBA keeps cutting teams and cutting the size of the roster. Once the NBA decides to quit funding it, the league will fold. Some of the players were talking about a lockout a couple of years ago in a league that loses millions of dollars and lost all respect from most sports fans. Philips arena puts a curtain over half of the arena for Dream games and it is still 1/4 full. I wish that these ladies would just buy the Braves instead and spend that money on some outfielders.

Positive Poster

January 17th, 2011
5:45 pm

I’m not a Dream fan, but why do people always feel the need to be negative on every story that’s written. At some point, it should be required to state your name before your negative comment. Just think if our Fore Fathers had signed the Declaration of Independence with screen names like Big Signature Jim or Wacky Quaker. Nobody would have taken them seriously. And no one should take these negative posters seriously either. They don’t represent the majority. Congratulations to the Dream for finding some important investors!

Rodney King

January 17th, 2011
6:12 pm

Congrats to the investors. Losses incurred will be subsidized by NBA. What a deal!

Tech Man

January 17th, 2011
7:01 pm

Herschel Talker

January 17th, 2011
7:15 pm

Women’s basketball isn’t basketball, it’s garbage, plain and simple. They should disband this joke of a league.

Lyle Lanley

January 17th, 2011
7:38 pm

“Hassles”, Mike? “Secure area”, Lenny? Sounds like code words to me for….BLACK PEOPLE. AHHHHHH, run safely to Gwinnett right now.

TnGelding

January 17th, 2011
7:52 pm

What do pro sports have to do with girls participating in physical activity? It’s another example of man’s folly. The owners and athletes are playing us for suckers. Pay so you can play, not make someone rich. Move, move, move!

TnGelding

January 17th, 2011
7:54 pm

hoopz

January 17th, 2011
5:01 pm

Right on!

Timinsmyrna

January 17th, 2011
8:06 pm

The Dream are killing the local economic rebound of our city. A concert at Philips Arena generates tens of millions of dollars of revenue for the city and its small bsuinesses. The Dream generate tens of dollars. Everytime the Dream are filling Philips as opposed to a concert, the economic pie of Atlanta is shrinking. Put them at Grady High School where the dozens of folks who care about the WNBA can go see them play.

Georgia Hoo

January 17th, 2011
8:21 pm

I commend Ms Betty for providing the funds for this enterprise. I think she believes that young girls need role models and the opportunity to play a game they love. And I agree that many of the players in the league play much harder and more disciplined ball than you’ll generally see in the NBA.

Having said that, from a financial perspective, it’s a real mess. The league loses big money and will immediately fold when/if the NBA decides to stop funding it. If they say the Atlanta team initally lost $3 million, it must have lost much more. They claim that losses have been slowed, but have the sense not to publish any figures because they wiould be questioned and ridiculed. As for the attendance, they are far, far short of the needed levels, not just 2,000 seats short. They have paid careful attention to other teams in the city who blatantly overstate the people in the stands.

As someone said, it’s a good tax deduction, for a worth cause. It’s a bad business decision, and made only by people who have either earned their money in a previous career or inherited it.

Fan

January 17th, 2011
9:30 pm

Move the games to the Gwinnett Arena.

Gray Mule

January 17th, 2011
9:30 pm

Why the negetive comment – Hate even – about the Dream and WNBA?
The answer is so simple. Jealousy.
These posters just can’t bring themselves to believe that these
good looking young ladies are better athletes than they are. They
would never dare to admit this. No, they try to hide their fear
by their arrogance.
Oh well. I’ts their loss. They’re missing something good.

John

January 17th, 2011
9:36 pm

Oh yeah Mark, give 2000 tickets away free to kids in the APS that can’t spell their own name and are given passing grades. ATL is a joke for educating kids and they keep giving them freebies for the rest of their lives. That’s the problem with ATL, everyone gets a free ride, if you know what I mean.

Damon Evans

January 17th, 2011
9:51 pm

Red panties give away at the home opener could boost attendance.

Pompano

January 17th, 2011
10:41 pm

You’ll never be able to generate a profit with women who look like men playing a sport. The PC crowd in the blog will skewer me over this but the cold-hard reality is that the only women’s sports that turn a profit are the ones high-lighting attractive women playing the sport – think tennis, ice skating, etc. One of the primary reasons the women’s Olympic Soccer team generated such a buzz was that they weren’t just winners – they were also hot.

WNBA players… not so much.

Dream Fan

January 17th, 2011
11:36 pm

Move the team to Gwinnett Arena.
I would love to take my daughter to their games, but taking her downtown is not in her best interest.
I might even buy season tickets.

Joy

January 18th, 2011
1:12 am

I hate to tell you but the Dream is bolstering the local economy and games are a blast. I have made three trips to Atlanta from western Kansas to watch the Dream. Previously, my only experience in Atlanta had been as I changed planes at the airport. My family has left lots of money behind during our travels to Atlanta – we stayed in your hotels, ate at your restaurants and visited local tourist attractions. We never would have spent time/money in your city if one of our friends were not playing for the DREAM. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! It’s a great family friendly experience and if I can come from Kansas for a game, surely you all can handle navigating downtown to get there. I definitely plan to return this season! One team, One Dream!!!

dream girl

January 18th, 2011
1:38 am

Absolutely 100% behind the Atlanta Dream, its owners, the great female athletes and role models on the team, coaches and the staff! The Dream already gives tickets and supports youth programs in a big way! The games are a blast and great affordable fun for families! The calibur of the new owners speaks volumes to what the Dream means to this city and girls/women who play sports. Too bad those of you with negative comments have no idea what you are missing and how an organization like the Dream can make a difference in a young girls life. It has made a differnce in mine and I am a 40 year old, successful business woman with season tickets who enjoys the game and enjoys a fun outing with my clients, family, friends and kids that I mentor. Thank you Atlanta Dream! Looking forward to the June tip off!

John Frazier

January 18th, 2011
1:48 am

To Betty FriedSpam….there are 35 players, staff, and coaches, and I would say there are at least 15 spouses or kids of those 35 which would make 50, that could name a player on the Dream…plus myself, so now there are 51, and that is not naming the 6,000 fans that attend the games….So where did you come up with this statement?

CAU79

January 18th, 2011
1:58 am

Most of the WNBA and NBA counterparts share an arena except the Chicago team. Philips Arena does a great job of hosting The Atlanta Dream. The team need not move to Gwinnett Arena. With additional investors, the marketing budget will increase and capture untapped markets. GO DREAM!!!!

[...] Two new owners buy into Atlanta Dream [...]

Paddy

January 18th, 2011
6:54 am

Once the NBA gets tired of their losses, which have been considerable, WNBA can’t sustain the financial pressure. And for those who continue to say we will be going after that “untapped” market; there is no such animal. In womens sports, it is what it is and if you are not making a true profit in minor league sports in 2 years, it will fail. You can hang on with adding investors. But you are out of business once the NBA pulls the plug.

The Real Fan

January 18th, 2011
6:58 am

Anyone who doesn’t care either does not have daughters or should not,
and probably doesn’t like women.

Edward

January 18th, 2011
7:05 am

Wish they could get Maya Moore too.

Nick in Gwinnet

January 18th, 2011
7:07 am

I’ve never heard anyone say the Falcons should move to Gwinnett or the Hawks or Braves. Very poor excuse. Where does the idea that Gwinnett is safer than anywhere else come from? I’m a season ticket owner and resident of Gwinnett. The only reason I would want the team to move to Gwinnett would to make life more convenient for me…. so in that case I’d like Hartfield International Airport to move here as well. Sounds silly?? It is. I’m also an Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder…. but I don’t even hear anyone say move the Dome to Gwinnett. Angel, Sancho, Izi and Erika are my favorite players….It’s entertainment… and what’s wrong with that?

Imjustsaying

January 18th, 2011
7:53 am

The problem is, and always will be, the fact that if we want to see guys play basketball we go to an NBA game.

kjfh

January 18th, 2011
7:57 am

hope the group doesn’t become a female version of the ASG

GEORGIA97

January 18th, 2011
8:18 am

I heard this story on radio station WLEZ this morning. Personally, I’d rather light myself on fire and run through a meth lab than go to a Dream game.