US Senator Thinks Portland, Oregon Should Get A WNBA Franchise

Ron Wyden thinks the team would do well.

The late David Stern used to give little talks to people about the business of the National Basketball Association. Stern would opine that to be successful there was a formula, a three-legged stool so to speak. An NBA or any major league sports franchise needed government support, across the board corporate backing whether it was as a marketing partner or buying big ticket items such a club seats and luxury boxes as well as a big TV deal. The Women’s National Basketball Association may be adding one to two teams by 2024 and one United States Senator has written a letter to both the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert suggesting that Portland, Oregon would be a suitable city for the WNBA. Senator Ron Wyden wrote, “a WNBA franchise in my hometown of Portland would be a slam dunk-success for the city and the league. It would grow the sport nationally and further deepen the connection between basketball and the city.”

There is a WNBA expansion due-diligence process that is ongoing. Engelbert said the WNBA is down to 10 to 12 cities that it is considering for expansion, but she did not reveal any of the candidates. The WNBA’s expansion list might include Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Nashville, and Oakland. Engelbert did throw up a red flag when it comes to a city to make a pitch. She said a city’s “population, political affiliation and policies, and generational demographics” will play a role in the selection as WNBA players are politically active. Portland did have a WNBA team between 1999 and 2002 and the franchise was not a financial success. The Fire owner Paul Allen shutdown the business.

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United States’ Sue Bird (6), center, celebrates with teammates after making a shot during women’s basketball preliminary round game against Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)