Madison Square Garden Company promoting New York Liberty of WNBA

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  • Mechelle VoepelespnW.com

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    • ESPN.com girls’s basketball/faculty sports activities author
    • 33 seasons overlaying girls’s faculty basketball
    • Covered 24 Final Fours

Madison Square Garden Company introduced Tuesday that it desires to promote the New York Liberty, one of many founding groups within the WNBA.

MSG’s govt chairman/CEO Jim Dolan was the final remaining authentic proprietor within the WNBA, relationship to the beginning of the league in 1997.

“We have been a strong and vocal advocate for the Liberty and the WNBA since the beginning. As the last original owner, I am proud of how far the league has come, and the role we have played in its growth,” Dolan mentioned in a press release. “This was a difficult decision for us, which we made after carefully badessing the needs of our business. We are confident that new ownership can build on the foundation we established over these last 21 years, and steward this incredible franchise into an even more successful future.”

The Dolan household enterprise empire was based on cable tv. Changes within the tv business have impacted the Dolan household’s selections on different enterprise holdings within the final couple of years.

“The Liberty is a WNBA original with a history of great players and fans,” WNBA president Lisa Borders mentioned in a press release. “We thank MSG for its 21 seasons supporting the growth of women’s basketball and appreciate its dedication to find a new ownership group to build on the team’s successes for many seasons to come.”

If the Liberty keep in New York and should not bought by any NBA-affiliated proprietor, that may improve the variety of so-called impartial WNBA franchises to eight of 12. When the WNBA started, all eight authentic groups had been owned by and affiliated with NBA groups, however the league modified its enterprise mannequin earlier than the 2003 season to permit for impartial possession.

The present NBA-affiliated WNBA groups are the reigning champion Minnesota Lynx, the Phoenix Mercury, the Indiana Fever and the Washington Mystics. The Stars franchise started in Utah underneath possession of the Jazz in 1997, moved to San Antonio underneath possession of the Spurs earlier than the 2003 season and just lately moved to Las Vegas after being bought by MGM Resorts International.

The Las Vegas franchise will start play in 2018 and is coached by Bill Laimbeer, who left the Liberty in October. Former WNBA participant Katie Smith, a Liberty badistant, was moved into the head-coaching function.

Former NBA participant Isiah Thomas was named president of the Liberty in 2015.

“I would like to thank Isiah, and the Liberty players and coaching staff, who have made great progress in strengthening and growing the franchise,” Dolan mentioned. “The Liberty now presents a tremendous opportunity for a new owner to bring new resources, creativity and focus to ensure the team becomes an enduring success.”

The Liberty have made the playoffs in 15 of their 21 seasons however have by no means received a league championship. They had been 22-12, third general within the WNBA, this previous season, however misplaced within the second spherical of the playoffs.

The information of the sale comes lower than 24 hours after the Madison Square Garden Company introduced the departure of its CEO David O’Connor after somewhat greater than two years on the job and a inventory worth that had risen greater than 40 p.c over that point.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell contributed to this report.

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