The Storm announced on Wednesday that co-owner Anne Levinson is leaving Force 10 Hoops. The other three founding members — Dawn Trudeau, Lisa Brummel, and Ginny Gilder — will remain.
“As organizations grow, there are often natural times of evolution, and this is one of them,” said Trudeau, chairperson of Force 10 Hoops, in a released statement. “Anne played a key role in the early formation of the new team ownership and we thank her for her contributions.”
Levinson, 52, was part of the team that originally brought pro women’s hoops to Seattle through her position as deputy mayor when the Reign was formed. After the ABL folded, she became a season-ticket holder of the Storm. And when that franchise was threatened with relocation by then-owner Clay Bennett, an Oklahoma City businessman, Levinson was instrumental in getting Bennett to sell to four local businesswomen, including herself.
Gilder and Levinson’s political and financial connections helped the Storm gather capital, sponsorships and local recognition like waving its flag above the Space Needle during the WNBA championship run.
“The Storm has truly become a part of the fabric of Seattle with both their championship performance on the court and their extraordinary commitment to the community off the court,” WNBA president Donna Orender said in a released statement. “As Force 10 Hoops prepares to move the Storm forward, the organization has a great foundation and a blueprint for success already in place. The WNBA is extremely appreciative of Anne Levinson’s contributions to the team’s ongoing success and while she will be missed, the current management team is poised to carry the franchise into a very positive future.”
But working with the Storm isn’t Levinson’s sole responsibility. She also was opponent by recently appointed independent adviser to the city to review allegations of police misconduct.
In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Trudeau wouldn’t elaborate on the decision, including when discussions began. She did say Levinson’s stake in the estimated $10 million purchase cost of the franchise will be reimbursed. The Storm, which is entering their fourth season under independent ownership, doesn’t expect to add any more owners in the future, just continue to grow the sponsorship platform.
“It’s just a natural time,” Trudeau reiterated. “We really appreciate everything she’s done and wish her well.”
The WNBA will hold owner meetings in December. Trudeau said the group is still in sync and the organization is sound, although a profit stemming from the championship isn’t expected.
“We’re really excited about what we’ve got coming up next year with some of our programs,” Trudeau said. “We’re looking very well with season-ticket renewals, sponsorship renewals and new ones. We’re doing great and are definitely committed to the team and the community over the long haul.”