I think if there’s anything the season ticket holders and WNBA fans were unhappy about in the month of October, it was the silence from the office of the Atlanta Dream. If I recall correctly, there was only one official response from the club, and that was the one reported by Tara Polen at Sportspagemagazine.com, where fans were told by a Dream insider to be patient and wait. Finally, after about a month of waiting, after Danielle Donehew left for greener pastures, Kathy Betty purchased the Dream.
But why the silence? Why did the fans hear nothing from the DFO? (DFO = “Dream front office”)
I’ve managed to piece together a few facts from sources of my own. Here’s what I’ve managed to come up with:
* Supposedly, some front office sources knew there was going to be an actual ownership change before the information was known to the public. The club’s front office couldn’t sell tickets until the ownership change went through. (I wonder if when Ron Terwilliger said he was looking for other investors, it was just a euphemism for selling the club. In which case, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was right.)
* The ownership change was expected to have gone through sooner than it did…but it took longer than expected. Which meant more silence from the front office.
* The staff was taking a lot of time off (sometimes as long as a week), treading water and waiting for a conclusion of the sale. The message from the higher ups in the office was for no one to say anything, lest the deal be damaged by something inadvertenty said. Therefore, no contact with the season ticket holders.
* The old management group of the Atlanta Dream was called Women’s Professional Basketball Atlanta (WPBA). Sometime in mid-October – I can’t find out when – the employees of WPBA were told that WPBA would be shut down. New ownership would not be purchasing the WPBA and in essence, were going to start their own management group. The result was that everyone was, in effect, fired.
Which meant that for two weeks there was no communication from the Dream organization, because essentially, there was no staff.
* My understanding is that some of the old WPBA staff is being rehired. I assume, however, that DFO II will approach things differently than DFO I.
So, if you wanted to know what happened, that was it. It’s just the way business re-orgs go, I guess, though it must have sucked for the former DFO employees. There was a lot that couldn’t be told, and may never be told…but at least, Dream fans now have an inkling of what explains those cold, silent weeks of October.