Atlanta had been mentioned as a possible future city for WNBA expansion, but efforts did not come together until the beginning of 2007. An organizing committee with Atlanta businessmen and politicians began the effort to attract an expansion team. The inability of the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA to draw crowds was a concern of the WNBA, and the committee kicked off an effort in February 2007 to gain volunteers and petition signatures, as well as pledges for season tickets.
Philips Arena, the Gwinnett Arena and Alexander Memorial Coliseum were candidates for venues. By May of 2007, the committee had over 1,000 pledges for season tickets, although the goal was 8,000 season tickets in ninety days. By July the committee had 1,200 commitments. The next step was to find an owner for the team.
On October 16, 2007 word broke that Ron Terwilliger, an Atlanta businessman and CEO of a national real estate company would be the future owner of an Atlanta franchise. The next day, at a news conference at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, WNBA president Donna Orender made the announcement that Atlanta would officially be granted a WNBA expansion franchise.
(Amusingly, former NBA player Dennis Rodman volunteered his name as head coach for the Dream. Terwilliger declined, stating that he wanted someone with more coaching experience and he felt that the head coach should be a woman, as the WNBA was a women's league. )
On December 5, 2007, an online contest was announced to for people to choose the team name and team colors - the final choice would rest with owner Ron Terwilliger. The names offered as choices were "Dream", "Flight", "Surge" and "Sizzle". There were also options for team colors such as lime green or hot pink. Voters had four different names and four different colors from which to choose.
Atlanta's WNBA franchise announced that the team name will be the Dream on January 23, 2008. The team colors would be sky blue, red, and white.
Atlanta held their expansion draft on February 6, 2008 when they selected one player from each of the thirteen teams in the league. Atlanta traded Roneeka Hodges and their number four pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft to the Seattle Storm for Iziane Castro Marques and Seattle's eighth pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. Also, the Dream traded the 18th pick and LaToya Thomas to the Detroit Shock for Ivory Latta.
On July 5, 2008, the Dream earned their first win in Atlanta against the Chicago Sky, ending the losing streak.