Commissioner Says WNBA Needs To Expand

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WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner speaks at a news conference, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The league has 12 teams.

The Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association Cathy Engelbert has said that her business needs more teams. “Obviously, we’re working very hard on expansion,” Engelbert explained. “This is really something I think we need to do, not just because of opening up potentially 12 to 24 roster spots, but also with a league that’s the longest-tenured women’s professional league in the country by double any other, we need more than 12 teams.” Engelbert has been pushing the expansion narrative for a while and is hoping that the league will have new teams in 2025 but there is a problem with the timeline. Expansion teams need some time to get marketing partners, line up local TV or a video streaming deal and then sell the big-ticket seats and finally attract interest from people who just want a regular seat to watch a game.

The league is exploring the San Francisco Bay Area, Nashville, Toronto, Austin, Denver, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and the Portland markets. “We need to be in some big cities in this country where all our data and information shows there’s some great markets for WNBA basketball,” Engelbert stated. “We’re excited, capitalizing off NCAA popularity, and hopefully talk more about that as we get further into the season this year.” Engelbert said in May that the league’s list for expansion consideration was down to 10 cities to “hopefully work towards expanding in a couple cities by the 2025 season”. Engelbert said in September 2022 that the business would have its expansion announcement by the end of 2022 but did not happen. The WNBA’s expansion committee is still gathering information on the various potential ownership groups. Englebert said the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role in stopping the expansion announcement. Engelbert claimed the league received “a ton of interest” from cities, but as of now, nothing has materialized.

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