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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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WNBA Star Alana Beard Leads Effort For Oakland Team

USA TODAY NETWORK/Design: Alex Brooks

A WNBA expansion team could be coming to Oakland through an investor group led by retired player Alana Beard.

The WNBA champion is partnering with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, an organization reportedly seeking a 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum Complex. Oakland’s Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan has been supportive of the process.

It’s not clear how much a new team would cost, but bankers estimated that the 2019 sale of the New York Liberty was in the $10 million to $14 million range.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has previously voiced her interest in building a league larger than the current 12 teams.

  • The 2021 regular season was the most-viewed WNBA season since 2008. Viewership increased 51% compared to 2020.
  • In May, Google joined Nike, Deloitte, and AT&T as a WNBA Changemaker.
  • That same month, Amazon purchased exclusive streaming rights to 16 WNBA games in a multiyear deal.

Charlotte, Houston, Toronto, and Philadelphia have all been identified as potential expansion cities. Natasha Cloud, Mystics point guard and Athletes Unlimited signee, said she’s trying her hardest to “bring a team back to Philly.”

Former Atlanta Dream star Renee Montgomery became the first former player to co-own a WNBA team in March.

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