Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson, co-owners of the WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks, are pioneers in the sports world. They are the first women to buy a team without the financial support of a husband or father. Goodman, 45, who grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., had practiced finance law and then launched a film production company, Intermedia Films, which went public on the German stock exchange after five years. She now teaches high school English and social studies at a charter school in Lake Balboa. Christofferson, 41, grew up on a sheep farm in Tolna, N.D., and is a former Miss North Dakota. She has been with the Los Angeles-based law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP for 15 years. She serves as head of its downtown L.A. office and maintains a big-ticket litigation practice with clients including ExxonMobil and Trader Joe's. The pair bought the Sparks in 2006 from Lakers owner Jerry Buss. They supervise a staff of about 15 during the off-season and 50 when the Sparks play, and their goal is now to get to the championships and make the team profitable. Goodman and Christofferson met with the Business Journal at Christofferson's office at O'Melveny to discuss owning a sports franchise.
Question: How did you meet?
Goodman: We met in 2000 when Carla represented Intermedia Films in an intellectual property lawsuit. We knew right away that we had the same work ethic because I would be at Intermedia, and my phone would ring at 8:30 p.m., I would answer it and Carla would say, "Why are you at the office?" And I would say, "What are you doing calling me?" I asked her if she wanted to go to a Sparks game, and she said she had her own tickets.
Christofferson: But Kathy's tickets were better than mine. So we put our seats together so at least we wouldn't have to watch the games by ourselves.
Q: Why did you want to buy the team?
Christofferson: We had been longtime fans. In addition to our passion for the sport, we also believed it was really amazing seeing these women perform at the highest level in a male-dominated field. And we were surprised that more people in Los Angeles weren't at the games and didn't seem to know about them. We just viewed it as a classic undervalued asset.
Q: Did you always want to own a sports team?
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.