Sometimes it’s hard to break bad news. You want to soften the blow, make it not seem so harsh, or you know, bad… The WNBA announced Tuesday that the players of the Sacramento Monarchs roster will be dispersed in a draft on Monday. The second part of that announcement was that the league will seek an ownership group for a Bay Area team in time for the 2011 season. So a team that would have been a very good immediate fit for the Bay Area market is going to be disbanded and its players will be playing elsewhere come next June. Because sometimes the timing just isn’t right.
The rumblings here have been that the ownership group that showed interest a few weeks ago couldn’t prove it was financially solvent enough to take over the team this quickly. Securing a venue was going to be tricky. The proverbial ducks were not all in a row.
The league thought it would be more prudent to disband the Monarchs, despite the roster’s many Bay Area ties, than take a chance on a shaky ownership situation. By stating the intention of putting a Bay Area team together by 2011, everyone – investors, potential investors, venue managers, league officials – have a chance to take a breath and put together a deal that is more secure.
Still an opportunity has been lost here. A team with Nicole Powell and Courtney Paris, a team with the No. 2 pick that might well have been used on Jayne Appel, that would have given this team a very good head start in terms of marketing, promotions and ticket sales. But the league is making the best out of bad situation and this is the best they could do.
It has not been a good couple of months for the league coming off a great WNBA Finals. Off the high of an entertaining series between Phoenix and Indiana, the league has absorbed one gut-punch after another. Detroit ownership backs out and the Shock move to Tulsa. Atlanta’s ownership backs out and they get another. The Monarchs situation is the only one that hasn’t had a happy ending so far.