Tuesday October 3, 2023

WNBA Passes on 2024 Expansion, Shooting for 2025

  • The WNBA is in talks with 10 investor groups looking to found new teams.
  • Toronto, Nashville, and the Bay Area are all contenders for expansion.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert talks to members of the media
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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The WNBA has faced delays in its plans to expand, but it remains committed to a long-term plan.

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert acknowledged to The Athletic that there would be no announcement on a new expansion site this year, as previously hoped, but maintained that the WNBA is on a growth trajectory.

  • While there had been hope that a new team could enter the league in 2024, the following year now appears more realistic.
  • Engelbert said that a new team would need around 18 to 24 months to hire coaches and executives and bring on players through an expansion draft, among other preparations.
  • Both the pandemic and Brittney Griner’s imprisonment in Russia added challenges to meeting a more aggressive timeline, per Engelbert.

“I’m a big, big believer in: let’s transform the economics and then we’ll expand, not expand and then hope that economics transform,” she said. “We want to bring new owners in that are going to be successful in standing up a franchise that can compete for a championship.”

WNBA Wants More Money in Players’ Pockets

Players have gone overseas to supplement their salaries.
December 11, 2022

Ten Options

The 12-team league has received ample interest across North America for new locations.

Engelbert said she is in touch with 10 investor groups on topics including a team’s potential arena, practice facility, season ticket market, and prospective corporate partners.

The WNBPA suggested Toronto, Nashville, and the Bay Area (both Oakland and San Francisco are considered contenders) as expansion sites. Columbia, S.C., and Philadelphia could also be options.

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