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Cathy Engelbert Eyes WNBA Expansion With Conclusion of ‘Successful’ 2021 Season

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Where to next for the WNBA?

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert believes that expansion is in the WNBA’s future and said as much in a phone call with reporters on Tuesday. With 12 teams and only 144 roster spots in the league, teams must cut talented players out of training camp every year. Those limitations are drawing even more attention as the NCAA and international leagues produce more WNBA-ready players.

“It is interesting to note how competitive and how deep the talent in this league is,” Engelbert said. “So (expansion) certainly is something that as we get out of this pandemic — hopefully next year — that we’re prepared to start talking about.”

The WNBA is more popular than ever as women’s sports continues to grow. The television ratings went up 68 percent during the 2020 bubble season and the jersey drop for the 25th anniversary season saw a total of 69 million impressions on social media, including over 17,000 posts.

“Twenty months in, I still believe our assets are undervalued, our narrative is undervalued,” Engelbert said. “I think it’s just because the spreadsheets and the models and the algorithms are set up for a time in the past that hasn’t evolved with the diversity, equity and inclusion of the future.”