Sparks owners relinquish interest in the team; WNBA seeks owners

Sparks owners end involvement with the team; WNBA takes control:

The WNBA is searching for a new Sparks owner after Sparks Chairman Paula Madison told the league her family-owned company would no longer be involved with the team, The Times has learned.

“This was a big surprise to us,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said Thursday. “Right before the holidays, I got a call from Paula letting me know that she and her family were no longer in a position to continue with the Sparks.”

The WNBA is not taking over control of the Sparks, however.

Asked if the Sparks would field a team for the 2014 season, or if the franchise would fold, Richie repeatedly said that several entities have expressed an interest in owning a WNBA team and the league is exploring those options regarding the Sparks.

The Sparks’ front-office staff, including General Manager Penny Toler and President Vincent Malcolm, have been laid off. Sparks Coach Carol Ross and her staff have also lost their jobs.