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WNBA commissioner shares more details on 2025 expansion plans

(Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA doesn’t plan to stop expanding anytime soon.

After announcing the Bay Area as the league’s 13th team last week, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Sunday that the goal is to add another team by 2025.

“Not to add more than that because when you run an expansion draft … obviously if you add 24 roster spots to a league of 144, that’s a lot, and we know we have the talent and the depth of talent in the league and those that haven’t made rosters and coming out of the NCAA system,” she said. “So the goal is to add that 14th team, not more, for ’25.

“But obviously longer term, I’ve said my goal is to get this league additional teams in additional cities that we think would be great.”

Reports have indicated that the second expansion city for 2025 will be Portland, although Engelbert wouldn’t confirm that in her press conference Sunday before Game 1 of the WNBA Finals. She said that the WNBA has entertained “a lot of interest” from prospective cities, and they intend to announce the second team by the end of the year.

“It’s a really good problem to have,” she said.

The league continues to examine data — from demographics to the arena situation, viewership and fandom — to determine which cities will be the strongest markets for expansion. On Sunday, Engelbert listed off six other cities, including Denver and Portland, which the league has already visited. The WNBA has also been in discussions with Philadelphia, Charlotte, Austin and Nashville.

“We have to be very thoughtful in the way we’re thinking about it,” Engelbert said. “Now it’s whether we can find the right — as you say, the right mix of the ownership group with the arena situation and everything else that’s important as part of long-term investing in women’s sports and in a WNBA team.”