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Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 at 3:19 pm  |  48 responses

Comets Franchise To Be Shut Down

by Ryne Nelson

The WNBA’s first dynasty is no longer.

One of the league’s original eight teams, the Comets claimed the WNBA’s first four championships from 1997-2000.

Seven WNBA teams either folded or relocated since 2002. But for a team as ‘storied’ as the Comets to fall, this is major news. From the Houston Chronicle:

“This is disturbing news,” said Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, a two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player who, along with Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, led the Comets to four league titles from 1997-2000. “This is a team that was an integral part of the WNBA. It is a team that helped establish the league, helped the league grow roots.”

[…]

In mid-August, Houston Mayor Bill White issued a letter to potential investors, placing the value of the franchise at $10 million and setting a November deadline to find local ownership.

Thirty-seven staff members also lost jobs in the team’s shuttering.

First problem the WNBA had was trying to market to women versus marketing it as strictly basketball (purer basketball when compared to the NBA).

Clearly, the WNBA has yet to find a consistent business model or marketing plan. So today (and yesterday), we say goodbye to one of the WNBA’s flagship franchises. Part of me wonders if this might be an early WNBA death knell….

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  • Bryant Reeves

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!… Oh, wait… I don’t care – and apparently neither does anyone else

  • notsexistbut…

    just not exciting to watch.

  • blackjack

    This is sad, but I really just have no interest in the womens’ basketball.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Reportedly, the Comets averaged 6,500 fans per game last season. Even that number seems high…

  • Bryant Reeves

    When your team draws a smaller crowd than a hockey game in a desert, it is time to call it quits

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Does anyone know if the W-League is still losing money? In 2006, the NBA had to finance $12 million to keep the WNBA afloat. They seem to keep these numbers under the table.

  • http://etceteratheblog.wordpress.com Et Cetera

    Damn. Bad sign for the WNBA

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    that’s so sad…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    That’s actually a dope commercial. And those Coop-TT-Swoopes squads were ridiculous. None of this is to say I’m moved by the loss… just saying.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    They have a espn deal for next season. money-wise they seems alright. surprising i know but seemingly true.

  • http://projectspurs.com/blog Michael

    Sad to see the Comets go. I remember those dynasty teams with Cynthia Cooper, Sherryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. They were very dominant. I wouldn’t mind a few of their players relocating to San Antonio in the dispersal draft.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    The beginning of the end…..

  • riggs

    they shouldnt bring in anymore new teams til theyre actually profiting, and they really need to market the hell out of the league because damn its the comets theyre losing thats like the nba losing the celtics (ok almost)

  • riggs

    also i remember that commercial…who knew that lil girl was gonna turn out to be fine? (raises hand)

  • John

    damn as a basketball fan not just an NBA fan, its disheartening that things like this are bound to happen seeing as these leagues are no longer a sport but a business :(

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I remember that commercial…I believe it was one of the original ones. Ryan is right, it is a dope commercial and those old Houston squads were the truth.

  • Italo

    Kyla Pratt was hilarious in those commercials. “I think you owe Tina an apology” hahahah

  • joe

    Riggs is right, Losing the comets is like the NBA’s Celtics, It is basically like the NBA losing the Celtics; and them shutting down instead of winding up with KG and Sweet J Ray during last summer in 07′.

  • Fredo

    We are oversaturated with sports leagues in the US. If it weren’t because David Stern has made it one of his pets, the WNBA would have folded long, long ago. The current economy is just going to help separate the sinkers from the swimmers.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    The WNBA is turning into the ABA…

  • http://n/a 007

    y’all wanna hit on women..?

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    why did they have to call cooper a dyke like that? thats messed up

  • Tommy Patron

    Purer basketball than the NBA? Wow. Also, regarding the ESPN/ABC deal, it is difficult to believe that there is no correlation between the world wide follower having a contract to televise NBA games and being the only network group to televise the WNBA.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    That’s too bad. What’s Goody’s take? Maybe this is the league that should go global. Just thinking (typing) out loud here, but maybe the WNBA may have a niche if it included teams from Europe. But that would take more money than they currently have, huh? Nevermind…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    “It is difficult to believe that there is no correlation between the world wide follower having a contract to televise NBA games and being the only network group to televise the WNBA.”
    You’re not exactly stumbling across a state secret here, Tequila Man. The NBA’s influence in the WNBA’s broadcast dealings is pretty well known.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling chiqo

    the irony of being a former wnba player who retires and gets married and then gets to carry dyke around as a means of identification is beyond awesome. incidentally, i wrote about this yesterday if anyone wants to read it.

  • Mike

    and in other notable news, I went to the grocery store today…

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I don’t know how people say its purer than the nba. I only see bad shooting and sloppy ball handling mostly. Not to hate on women or anything I just don’t think its on par with the mens game.

  • Tommy Patron

    Easy, Jones. Things that are obvious to you and I may not be to everyone reading and posting on this site. I mentioned that to illustrate the un-organically manufactured nature of the WNBA, in my opinion.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    ESPN has a contract with the NBA?

  • Tommy Patron

    Unfortunately.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    this has been unfolding for a while now, they moved out of the Toyota center a long time ago and moved into an arena that helf small events and still had trouble filling that up…I also don’t see as many young girls interested in basketball as when the WNBA first began, it’s like either you’re a natural or you do something else.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Maybe, if they paid athletes less, they wouldn’t have to worry about selling franchises!

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    If only Lil’ Flip followed through on his promise to buy the Comets, maybe they would still be around….\

  • http://hoops4life.com overtime

    Sad Day

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Teddy, the WNBA didn’t really pay that much, nothing compared to the NBA or what they could get overseas. I’m not 100% sure, but top players probably didn’t reach 6 figures.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Not that I care about the WNBA very much, but I’m sorry for the Comets.

  • http://chugachugachugachuchu.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    cherly swoopes was raw. Only wnba player i remember

  • Sarah

    Wow. I’m not a huge WNBA fan, but that’s kinda sad.

  • CiB

    cosign Tad’s first statement unfortunately.

  • http://nbaukfan.blogspot.com/ mat smith

    ive tried to watch at least five WNBA games and never gotten past the 2nd Q, still hope it doesnt fold though, think if you started watching the “W” before the “N” it may be different, but the step down was too much for me

  • http://hltt.com Todd Nelkin

    I was a Comets season ticket holder for 7 seasons- this was a fault of the new ownership and coach- bad player moves, bad arena, bad drafting- all gave people no reason to go to a game- and the eight dollars parking a game did not help-
    if all you “haters” have to post that you dont care about the wnba- well, maybe you really do and are scared to admit it- that these women have the game you wish you did in your dreams.

  • witness

    im from houston and i hate watching them.

  • youngmuggsy

    You can’t really say which is purer basketball, you’re not James Naismith.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Good call, but it might have been the best marketing ploy.

  • TJ

    I’m a big basketball fan from college to WNBA.. I hate to see the Comets go…the women don’t get paid like the men so Teddy-the-Bear that is not an issue…they make more over seas that’s why many of them was playing over there during the off season…

  • carlos sanchez

    wow when i heard bout it i was sad ive been wathcing the wnba since 1997 since it started. and i love the comets and the big three.so much history and awsome memories its a shock it had to end.

  • rudy2302

    this is truly unfortunate.the game of women’s basketball is a sport that needs continuous support to stay afloat and i’m going to be the one to change it.these women work too hard to have everything fold right before their eyes. the sport needs something like a supplement source to market the game of women’s basketball and i know just what it is and im currenty working on that.so stay tuned!

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