WNBA Not Yet Ready To Put A Team In Toronto

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Toronto could have a team by 2026.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that a Toronto, Ontario group called Kilmer Sports Inc., headed by Larry Tanenbaum has been awarded the Women’s National Basketball Association’s 14th franchise and that an announcement will come on May 23rd. But Tanenbaum’s group and the WNBA have put the brakes on the May 23rd planned announcement, at least at the moment. The WNBA issued a vague statement about putting a team in Toronto. “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.” Kilmer Sports also issued a statement saying there was “no update at this time.” Tanenbaum is a minority owner and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors franchises.

Toronto has hosted one WNBA preseason game. The 2023 contest between the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx took place before a sold-out crowd of 19,800 people. Of course, playing one pre-season game that sold out does not guarantee any future success of any franchise but Toronto is the fifth biggest market on the North American continent and is a major league city by every definition. The city lacks a National Football League franchise and getting an NFL team is problematic. There is no stadium suitable for the NFL in Toronto. Toronto is Canada’s financial and media center. Meanwhile, it appears the WNBA has not given up on putting an expansion franchise in Portland, Oregon. Apparently, there are two groups talking to WNBA officials about bringing a franchise to Portland. In 2023, it appeared Portland was set to join the league but there were arena concerns and Portland’s possible entry into the WNBA was shelved.

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