APNewsBreak: Dolan, Garden keeping WNBA’s Liberty for now
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Liberty are remaining under the control of New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Madison Square Garden for now.
The WNBA team was put up for sale in November. An MSG executive confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that Dolan’s group has decided to keep the Liberty at this time.
“While we have had numerous interested parties, we are going to continue to operate the team until we identify the right new owner to steward this valuable New York franchise. We will have more to share soon,” Madison Square Garden Company President Andy Lustgarten said.
The Liberty plan to move most of their games out of the Garden this season and into the suburban Westchester County Center, two people familiar with the situation told the AP. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.
Only a few Liberty games would be held at the Garden. The rest would be at the Westchester arena, the home of the New York Knicks’ G League team.
The Liberty still need Westchester County approval to play there. Holding games at the 5,000-seat venue would save a lot of money for the team because events at the Garden have a much larger overhead.
The team was fourth in attendance last year, averaging 9,889 fans, with attendance growing 8 percent over the last three seasons under team president Isiah Thomas.
The Liberty were one of the WNBA’s original franchises and have been owned by Dolan and Madison Square Garden since the league was founded in 1996.
New York has reached the playoffs in 15 of its 21 seasons but has never won the title. It has had the best record in the Eastern Conference the past three seasons. Led by Tina Charles, the Liberty were 22-12 this past year and were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
While all eight of the original WNBA franchises were owned and affiliated with NBA teams, only four of the 12 teams now have NBA partners with Indiana, Phoenix and Minnesota the other three.
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