Friday, January 15, 2016

Sacramento area loses TeamTennis franchise again

Anabel Medina Garrigues and the California Dream edged the Philadelphia Free-
doms last July in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights. Photo by Paul Bauman  
   The California Dream became the California Nightmare.
   For the second time in two years, the Sacramento area has lost its World TeamTennis franchise. This time, it could be for good.
   WTT spokeswoman Rosie Crews said Wednesday that the Dream's franchise was terminated after one year "due to noncompliance with their obligation to the league," The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.
   Crews wouldn't elaborate, but she told The Bee in December that the Dream had until the end of the month to meet the financial commitments to return next season.
Left to right, Dream coach David MacPherson and players Jarmila
Gajdosova, Tennys Sandgren, Neal Skupski and Garrigues are into-
duced before the match against Philadelphia. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Dream majority owner Jeff Launius could not be reached for comment.
   Randy Peters Catering, the Dream's food concessionaire, sued the team a month ago for allegedly failing to pay a $19,000 bill.
   California averaged an announced 1,291 fans for seven home matches in its 2,400-seat temporary stadium in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights.
   Other than for the only home appearance by doubles stars Bob and Mike Bryan, attendance was often sparse.
   California won six of its last seven regular-season matches to finish second in the Western Conference at 9-5, then lost to the host Austin Aces in the conference final.
   Launius and two partners moved the Texas Wild from the Dallas area to the Sacramento region last year.
Billie Jean King, right, and Philadelphia coach Josh Cohen
watch the match against the Dream. King founded World
TeamTennis with her husband at the time, Larry King, in
1975 and owns the Freedoms. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Dream replaced the Sacramento Capitals, who announced in February 2014 that they were moving to Las Vegas after 28 years and a record six league titles because the team lacked a permanent tennis facility.
   Four weeks later, WTT disbanded the franchise when team owner Deepal Wannakuwatte was jailed on charges of defrauding investors in his medical supply business of $109 million. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
   Two previous Capitals owners also encountered legal or financial trouble.
   Lonnie Nielson pleaded guilty to grand theft related to his real estate business in 2010 and was released from prison in 2013.
   Nielson's co-owner, Sacramento real estate developer Bob Cook, declared bankruptcy after the 2011 season.
   One of the Dream's sponors believes enough is enough.
   "I don't think we'll ever have a team again," Glenn Sough, the owner of sporting goods store Tennis Town, lamented to The Bee.


  1. How disappointing! What is going on with ownership...
    Going to miss some terrific pro tennis

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