The WNBA could add a franchise or two in the next couple of years.
Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in an interview with The Athletic earlier this week that the league may expand to one or two cities as early as the 2024 season.
The WNBA hasn’t expanded since the Atlanta Dream entered the league in 2008. Significant hurdles need to be cleared before a franchise is awarded, including whether a city has an arena in place and meets key financial and fan demographics.
“There’s no crisp or clear formula, but you see cities that rise to the top pretty quickly,” Engelbert said.
The Athletic reported that the expansion fee would be worth between $15 million and $20 million, but Engelbert said those figures “sound low.” She also added that the combination of the current 12 teams and the league itself puts the value of the WNBA over $1 billion.
Engelbert said the list of possible expansion cities has been narrowed to around 10 or 12, and The Athletic speculated that new teams could be awarded to a pool of six cities: Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto.
An official announcement on expansion is expected by the start of September’s playoffs.