Reports: Several groups interested in purchasing Liberty; team likely to stay in New York

Photo Credit: Mike Lawrence/New York Sportsday Wire

It appears as if there is loads of interest in purchasing the WNBA’s team that resides in the Big Apple – and that the attitude is that they will not leave Gotham.

ESPN’s Ian Begley, the beat writer for the Knicks at ESPN New York, is reporting that Madison Square Garden, the incumbent owners of the Liberty, are in conversations with several ownership groups re: the impending sale of the franchise. His sources said the bidders are operating under non-disclosure agreements.

In further developments that should bring a sigh of relief to women’s basketball aficionados in the Tri-State area, WNBA president Lisa Borders said to Doug Feinberg at the Associated Press that she expect the Liberty to stay put.

We will have a team in New York. Mr. Dolan and MSG have been a terrific partner for 21 years.

–Lisa Borders per AP

The New York area is important to us. This is our headquarters.

In November, Madison Square Garden announced that the Liberty, one of the WNBA’s original eight franchises were being put up for sale. MSG has owned the Liberty ever since the league’s debut in 1997.

The announcement of the Liberty’s sale seemed to run concurrent with the departure of now former MSG CEO David O’Connor. As Liberty fans know, this period of transitioning is happening in the front office in terms of the ownership status as well as the head coaching position. Katie Smith, after serving as an assistant to Bill Laimbeer — who left to take the head coaching position in Las Vegas — was recently named the team’s new head coach.

The talks are preliminary, but among the topics likely to be discussed by Liberty fans once the dust settles is where will the team play, who the eventual owner will be, and where will the games be broadcast.

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