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WNBA looking for new owners for L.A. Sparks — team in limbo

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A lot of talk around the Southland and across the country about this one. The Women’s National Basketball Association is frantically searching for new owners of the Los Angeles Sparks. The local team of talented professional female basketball players was blindsided by their franchise Chairwoman, Paula Williams Madison, and her family firm, Williams Group Holdings LLC. The former NBC executive and her family owned company abruptly bailed out on the Sparks — leaving the team’s future up in the air.

“This was a big surprise to us,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said Thursday in an article on the Los Angeles Times website. “Right before the holidays, I got a call from Paula letting me know that she and her family were no longer in a position to continue with the Sparks.” Also, 2013 was a “terrific year” for the WNBA with both “viewership and attendance up,” according to Richie.

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The front office as well as the coaching staff got laid off. Many found out about the situation when team President Vincent Malcolm on Tuesday, New Year’s eve, told employees they no longer had jobs.

Madison became the Sparks’ chairwoman in 2007.  Her family firm, Williams Group Holdings LLC, is the majority investor in an ownership group that included ex-film executive, Kathy Goodman, attorney Carla Christofferson, and former Sparks star, Lisa Leslie. No word yet if the other investors will hang in there with the team.

On the ESPN website, Richie said there are others who have expressed interest in running this women’s basketball team: “The one thing we know now is there are some very interested and very capable folks out there expressing interest in the Sparks.”

More here  and here on the Sparks drama. So far, no indication of the team’s troubles on its website.

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