The WNBA won’t announce an expansion city by the end of 2022, breaking from the league’s previously anticipated timeline.
Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said earlier this year that the WNBA aimed to announce locations for up to two expansion teams, which could then join the league as soon as 2024. But she walked back those plans in an interview with The Athletic.
“We’re now engaged in the hard work of looking at the cities that we’ve kind of narrowed to at this point,” Engelbert told The Athletic earlier this week.
In June, Engelbert said up to 12 cities remained on the short list, though she did not identify the cities. This week, she revealed that 10 interested ownership groups remain in consideration, with the goal of adding at least one new franchise.
The WNBA will not meet their year-end timeline of naming a new expansion team, per @MikeVorkunov.WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert said it is unlikely for the new team to begin play until 2025 at the earliest. pic.twitter.com/HBl8MkAWJC— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) December 14, 2022
The WNBA will not meet their year-end timeline of naming a new expansion team, per @MikeVorkunov.WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert said it is unlikely for the new team to begin play until 2025 at the earliest. pic.twitter.com/HBl8MkAWJC
Engelbert identified several questions that need to be answered before picking a location: Where would the team play and practice? How would the ownership group approach corporate sponsorships?
The WNBA currently has 12 teams, and wants to add at least one more. The last expansion team was the Atlanta Dream, which joined the league in 2008. Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Indiana, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minnesota, New York, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C., all have franchises.
Several cities have been brought up as possibilities, including Portland, Oakland, Nashville and Toronto.
“Good news is, we have a ton of interest from a lot of cities,” she told The Athletic. “I didn’t think we would have that much interest. And now that we have so much interest, we really want to be thoughtful in how we look at where we’re going to be for the next — because this is a long-term commitment from that ownership group and the league.”
The expansion team likely would join the league in 2025, Engelbert said.