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Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - The WNBA approved the sale of the Seattle Storm on Thursday.
The team will be sold to a local group called Force 10 Hoops LLC., an entity owned by Anne Levinson, Ginny Gilder, Lisa Brummel and Dawn Trudeau.
"Force 10 Hoops presented a compelling case for approval of the sale," WNBA president Donna Orender said. "They garnered an impressive array of government, business and public support. That, together with their strong record of civic involvement and business experience, made it clear to us that the Storm has a great future in Seattle. The vote was unanimous."
The seventh WNBA team to be owned and operated independently from an NBA team, the Storm will continue to play home games at the Seattle Center's KeyArena.
In October 2002, the NBA Board of Governors approved the transition of WNBA teams from operating agreements to individual ownership rights, allowing WNBA teams to be located in non-NBA markets and owned by non-NBA owners both in and out of NBA cities.
The Connecticut Sun, Washington Mystics, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Sparks, Houston Comets and new expansion team, the Atlanta Dream, are the other independently owned teams.
"This is an exciting day for all the fans who have been so loyal to the Storm over the years," said Levinson, who negotiated the transaction for Force 10 Hoops and will be the team's chairperson. "For us to have been able to provide the league with a letter signed by nearly 1,200 fans, resolutions from government leaders, and strong growth in ticket sales and sponsorships over just the past six weeks speaks to the incredible support from the fans and the community and is evidence of how much this team means to the Seattle region.
"We want to thank the league and the board of governors for their vote of confidence; we are looking forward to a great season."