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WNBA sets preseason game for Canada in 2023, expansion on horizon

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert also provided an update on the league's expansion plans. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The WNBA will play a preseason game in Canada in 2023, marking the league’s first international contest since 2011, commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Sunday.

“As WNBA games currently air in 207 countries and territories, we know there’s a great appetite to see WNBA action live, and we are looking forward to bringing the W to our fans across the globe,” she said.

She also provided an update on WNBA expansion. While the precise timeline remains opaque, Engelbert confirmed the league has narrowed its search to “about 10” cities.

“We’re going to continue to work on that hard and hopefully, can announce expansion over the next couple years,” she said.

While Engelbert said earlier this year an announcement of up to two expansion teams could come by the end of 2022, setting up the teams to join the league by 2024 and no later than 2025, she would not commit to a firm deadline Sunday.

“We want to make sure the new ownership group is set up for success,” Englebert said. “So, we will announce it when it’s right, when we have reached agreements with different ownership groups.”

Her current focus is on continuing conversations with potential ownership groups. She did, however, reiterate her favorable opinion of the Bay Area as a prospective location.

“Not to have a team in the Bay Area, whether it’s Oakland, San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, didn’t seem right to me,” she said. “Including Oakland or San Francisco is certainly on our list, high on our list.”

When Just Women’s Sports conducted a poll of 20 league personnel ahead of the playoffs, the Bay Area emerged as their top pick for an expansion team. Toronto, Nashville and Philadelphia were tied in second place.