Atlanta Dream close to being sold; Kelly Loeffler to have no association with team, sources say

Why WNBA players refuse to say Kelly Loeffler's name (1:34)

Ramona Shelburne breaks down the reaction of WNBA players to Atlanta Dream owner and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler's objections to the league's Black Lives Matter promotion. (1:34)

The Atlanta Dream are close to being sold, a WNBA spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.

"As it relates to the Atlanta Dream, we understand a sale of the franchise is close to being finalized," the league said in a statement. "Once the sale negotiation is concluded, additional information will be provided."

Sources told ESPN on Tuesday that up to five bidders have expressed interest in buying the team, with Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), currently a co-owner, expected to have no association with the franchise after the sale.

The franchise has been at the center of turmoil since Loeffler wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the league's embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2020 season. Players around the league initially called on Loeffler to sell her share of the team (49%) but when she refused, they instead publicly endorsed her opponent in her senatorial race, the Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Warnock defeated Loeffler in the Jan. 5 runoff and will be sworn in to Congress this week.

Over the summer, ESPN reported that Dream president Chris Sienko and majority owners Mary and John Brock, the former CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, have been providing financial information to potential buyers of the team.

It remains unclear what role the Brock family would have with the team going forward, sources said, but the expectation is the new buyer would have majority ownership. Brock and Loeffler have owned the team since 2012.

A voicemail left by ESPN for John Brock on Tuesday was not returned, nor was an email to Loeffler's campaign.

Loeffler told ESPN in July that "I have long welcomed additional partners as part of making sure that we continue to grow the team. But I will continue to remain part of the team."

She estimated that she has lost $10 million since buying the team. According to campaign finance documents, Loeffler loaned her senatorial campaign $23 million in 2020.