• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Toronto Set to Be WNBA’s 14th Franchise, First Outside U.S.

  • The team will reportedly start play in May 2026.
  • The WNBA hopes to get to 16 teams ‘in the next few years.’
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The WNBA is heading north of the border.

Toronto will be the WNBA’s 14th team and first outside the United States, beginning play in May 2026, according to the CBC

Billionaire Larry Tanenbaum, the chairman of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment and a minority owner in the Maple Leafs and Raptors among other investments, was awarded the franchise, with an official announcement expected in the city May 23. According to the CBC, the expansion team will play at the city’s 8,000-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum. 

The league told Front Office Sports that any news was not official yet. “We continue to engage in productive conversations with interested ownership groups in a number of markets and the granting of any expansion teams requires a vote of the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors,” a league spokesperson said.

The news comes two days after the league announced it would charter flights for all teams, a previous point of contention between players and the league.

At April’s WNBA draft, commissioner Cathy Engelbert named Toronto as one of the markets the league was negotiating with and said she hopes to get the league to 16 teams “in the next few years.” Golden State, the league’s 13th team, will begin play next season in San Francisco. 

Toronto is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it has seen a huge interest in the Raptors, its NBA franchise. The Raptors won the 2019 NBA Finals and previously inspired a whole generation of Canadians to pick up a basketball thanks to icons like Vince Carter, who was the expansion franchise’s first star in the late ’90s. Canada claimed a bronze medal in the ’23 FIBA World Cup and has stars such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder leading a loaded team into the Summer Olympics. The WNBA had four Canadians on rosters for the ’23 season, most notably Sparks guard Kia Nurse. 

In 2023, Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, home to the Raptors and Maple Leafs, sold out for the WNBA’s first preseason game in Canada. It was so successful that the league held another preseason game in Edmonton this past Saturday, with 16,000 fans coming to watch the Seattle Storm play the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

MLB Officially Investigating Gambling Allegations Against Ohtani’s Close Friend and Longtime Teammate

David Fletcher reportedly used the same bookmaker as Ohtani’s former interpreter.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows

0:00

Featured Today

exclusive

‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.
May 20, 2024

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
May 16, 2024

Preakness in Spotlight: Chance of a Triple Crown Winner Bolsters Status

The presence of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan gives a big boost to the Triple Crown’s middle leg.
May 15, 2024

PGA Championship Setting Revenue Records, but LIV Drama Still Looms

The PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning at Valhalla Golf Club.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.