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The WNBA Hopes To Add 1-2 Expansion Teams Before The End Of The Year

The WNBA currently has 12 teams, and according to a new report by Chantel Jennings and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, at least one more appears to be on the way. The Athletic spoke to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, who brings word that the league has whittled down a list of 100 cities that could potentially get an expansion franchise to a list of 10-12.

According to Engelbert, the plan is to bring a new team to 1-2 of those cities, with an eye on having those expansion franchises begin playing in 2024.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told The Athletic she hopes to identify one or two cities for an expansion franchise by the start of the WNBA playoffs in September or by year’s end at the latest. Those new teams could begin to play as early as the 2024 season, she said. This would be the first time the league has added an expansion team since the Atlanta Dream were founded in 2008.

While the list of cities that could receive teams was not released, The Athletic speculated that six could be in the running: Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto, with that final city allegedly being “given the checkmark” by the league for the various infrastructure plans it has submitted. Beyond that, the report indicates that Wanda Sykes is among those interested in bringing a team to Philly, while Warriors owner Joe Lacob would like to get a team in San Francisco.

“There’s no crisp or clear formula, but you see cities that rise to the top pretty quickly,” Engelbert said of how the league will determine which cities are in pole position to get teams. “And we’re also looking at our current WNBA franchise cities and comparing what lessons we’ve learned and what’s worked and not worked over the last 25 years. We really want to set up new owners for success.”