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Renee Montgomery joins exclusive group of women owners in professional sports with Dream purchase

Chris Cwik
·3-min read

Renee Montgomery is joining an exclusive group. With her purchase of the Atlanta Dream on Friday, Montgomery became one of the few women to own a professional sports team.

Montgomery — along with Larry Gottesdiener and Suzanne Abair — put together an ownership group and bought the Dream from ex-Senator Kelly Loeffler on Friday. With the move, Montgomery became the first former WNBA player to own a WNBA team.

Montgomery spent 11 seasons in the league. Her final two seasons came with the Dream. Montgomery was set to play for the Dream again in 2020, but opted out of the season to focus on social justice initiatives.

Renee Montgomery among the few women owners in pro sports

The move makes Montgomery one of the few women to own a professional sports team. Montgomery isn't the only woman to be part of an ownership team in the WNBA. Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child and Margaret Stender are listed as part of the ownership group for the Chicago Sky. The Seattle Storm are owned by Force 10 Hoops LLC, which consists of Dawn Trudeau, Lisa Brummel and Ginny Gilder.

In the NBA, the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are owned by women. Jeanie Buss, along with her siblings Jim and Johnny Buss, own the Lakers. Jeanie Buss is the controlling owner of the team. Gayle Benson — who also owns the New Orleans Saints — owns the Pelicans. Ann Walton Kroenke owns the Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. She was given ownership of those teams after her husband, Stan Kroenke, purchased the Los Angeles Rams. NFL rules do not allow owners to have teams in different markets, leading to Stan Kroenke handing over the Nuggets and Avalanche to Ann.

Businesswoman Sara Blakely is a minority owner with the Atlanta Hawks. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith is part of an ownership group with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bills, Bears, Saints among teams with women owners in NFL

Over in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are all owned by women. Benson, Texans owner Janice McNair and Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford all took over their organizations after their husbands died. Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk, 49ers owner Denise DeBartolo York and Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey all inherited their teams from their fathers. Jody Allen took over the Seahawks after her brother, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died in 2018. Kim Pegula is part of an ownership group with her husband, Terry Pegula. They own the Bills and the Buffalo Sabres.

No Major League Soccer team is owned by a woman. Former soccer pro Mia Hamm is part of an ownership group with Los Angeles FC, Ciara is part of the Seattle Sounders ownership group with her husband, Russell Wilson. Melissa Griffey, wife of Ken Griffey Jr., is also a part of the Sounders' ownership group, along with businesswoman Amy Hood. The Colorado Rapids are owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, a company founded by Stan Kroenke. While Ann Walton Kroenke is part of that group, she's not listed as the primary owner of the Rapids.

Grace Comiskey and Marge Schott are among the women who have owned MLB teams in the past, but no MLB team is currently owned by a woman.

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