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….