Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob is bringing a WNBA expansion team to the Bay Area, and he is aiming high.
“We will win a WNBA championship in the first five years of this franchise,” he promised Thursday.
The new franchise is set to begin play in 2025, the WNBA announced Thursday. The team likely will share the “Golden State” moniker with its NBA peers, to reflect the fanbase of the entire Bay Area — and, if all goes well, to find similar success.
“We’re coming in here, number one, to win,” Lacob told ESPN. “Number two, we want to see this league and women’s basketball grow, and we hope to be a big part of it.”
The Warriors are planning to bring “all of our resources” to the WNBA team, he said, adding: “We can put this machine to work and we’re going to do that.”
For Lacob, the ownership of a WNBA team is a “full-circle” moment, as he began his journey as a sports owner with the women’s American Basketball League in 1996. He also was a minority owner in the league, which folded in 1996.
“The only reason it took all these years (to get a WNBA team), 25 years or so, is that when I bought the Warriors [in 2010], we had to turn around the team,” he said. “That was a few years. Then we had a seven-year process to build the arena, which was a massive investment of time and money. And then finally when I was ready to go, the pandemic hit. So years go by, and here we are now.”
According to Forbes’ most recent NBA valuations, the Warriors are the top-ranked NBA team, sitting at a cool $7 billion. And now that $7 billion is going to be a driving force behind the newest WNBA franchise, with Lacob saying that they’re committed to putting the Warriors’ business structure fully behind the team.
“I believe we’ll have the No. 1 revenue of any WNBA team,” he said. “And I think we can do very, very well as a business because we know how to do this. We have all the facilities, and we can bring sponsor dollars to the team and ultimately to the league that will help the league in a big way.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and star player Steph Curry also expressed their excitement over the WNBA team in videos posted to social media Thursday.
#DubNation just leveled up.Let's get it, @wnbagoldenstate 👏 pic.twitter.com/ZZz8tsKfBZ— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 5, 2023
#DubNation just leveled up.Let's get it, @wnbagoldenstate 👏 pic.twitter.com/ZZz8tsKfBZ
"There's a great joy and love for women's basketball in the Bay Area." Basketball fans in The Bay, the @WNBA is here. pic.twitter.com/6Da3bGXbzG— WNBA Golden State (@wnbagoldenstate) October 5, 2023
"There's a great joy and love for women's basketball in the Bay Area." Basketball fans in The Bay, the @WNBA is here. pic.twitter.com/6Da3bGXbzG