HOUSTON AND NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2008 – The Houston Comets will suspend operations for the 2009 season it was announced today by WNBA President Donna Orender. A WNBA Dispersal Draft involving Comets players will take place on Monday, Dec. 8.
“Multiple investors have come forward and expressed significant interest in purchasing the Comets and having them continue to play in Houston in 2009,” said Orender. “However, we made the judgment that we would not be able to complete a transaction with the right ownership group in time for the 2009 season. The WNBA is extremely grateful to the Comets organization, to the city of Houston and to the team’s loyal fans for helping build both the WNBA and the game of women’s basketball.”
Having concluded its 12th season in 2008 with increases in attendance, ratings, Web traffic, sponsorships and merchandise sales, the WNBA will play the 2009 season with 13 teams. The 2009 season also marks the first year of the WNBA’s new, eight-year television agreement with ESPN under which the league will receive a rights fee, a first for a women’s professional team sports league in the U.S.
Comets season ticket holders will be notified in the near future of a procedure for refunds.
Current Comets players, with the exception of unrestricted free agents Latasha Byears, Mwadi Mabika, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, Michelle Snow and Tina Thompson, are eligible to be selected in the Dispersal Draft. The order of selection, based on the inverse order of 2008 regular season finish will be as follows:
8) New York
9) Los Angeles
13) San Antonio