The WNBA’s newest franchise officially has a name: the Golden State Valkyries

The California-based expansion team announced its new name and brand identity on Good Morning America Tuesday ahead of the league’s 2024 regular season tip-off. The Valkyries will begin play in 2025. 

The black and light purple logo depicts the Bay Bridge, signifying the team’s ties to the Bay Area. The name originates in Norse mythology — Valkyries are "a host of warrior women who are fearless and unwavering," according to the team release.

"The story of the Golden State Valkyries begins now," said Valkyries president Jess Smith. "And what better way than to be surrounded and supported by Bay Area legends as we take our rightful place in the WNBA and beyond. This is the Bay's time to show what's possible with the best fans in the world."

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Tapping ex-New York Liberty assistant GM Ohemaa Nyanin as general manager earlier this month, Golden State has already surpassed 7,500 season ticket deposits for its inaugural season. It’s the WNBA’s first expansion team since 2008 and 13th team overall, and will play its games at the Chase Center in San Francisco. 

The brand creation process began in October 2023, with the team turning to fan suggestions via surveys and social media to settle on a final name. 

"Communities own sports teams, so it’s only fitting that as we embarked on the brand identity development process, we really listened to the fans and selected a name that they wanted," said Amanda Chin, the club’s senior VP of marketing. "The name that continued to come up the most, by far, was Valkyries. Once we completed a rigorous process to examine and approve the name, we worked around the clock to build the supporting brand elements that our players and fans alike would be proud to represent."

The team’s primary color has been dubbed Valkyrie Violet, a tone that signifies "power, ambition, nobility, and women's empowerment, much like purple has been used symbolically in modern history," according to the release

Expansion team WNBA Golden State has officially brought on New York Liberty assistant GM Ohemaa Nyanin as general manager, the team announced in a Monday afternoon statement.

The move marks one of the first major personnel hires for the highly anticipated franchise, set to begin league play in 2025. Nyanin will oversee all basketball operations for the Bay Area addition, including building out the roster, shaping the team, and developing talent. 

Nyanin joins team president Jess Smith and senior vice president of marketing and communications Kimberly Veale in the WNBA Golden State front office.

"Ohemaa is the perfect fit to lead our WNBA basketball operations as we prepare for our inaugural season in 2025," Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said in the release. "As we moved through the GM hiring process, it became more apparent each day how impressive and well-versed Ohemaa is in all facets of the business, and as a person."

Nyanin was with the Liberty for more than five years, most recently serving as the team’s assistant general manager. Prior to that, she spent five years as the assistant director of the women’s national team at USA Basketball, helping to oversee team operations through gold medal wins at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.

"I am truly honored to be chosen as the first general manager of WNBA Golden State," Nyanin said. "Throughout the interview process, it was clear that bringing a WNBA team to the Bay Area was meticulously thought out and those involved are motivated changemakers who will be proactive in growing the league. I look forward to joining this franchise and building a competitive basketball team that the fans deserve."

In a July 2023 profile published by The Next, Liberty assistant coach Roneeka Hodges described Nyanin as the New York team's “Ms. Make-it-Happen."

"She’s a jack of all trades," added Hodges, while Liberty GM Jonathan Kolb paid Nyanin a particularly prophetic compliment.

"She needs to be a general manager in this league," Kolb said. "Full stop, it needs to happen, and that’s her goal."

While WNBA expansion to Portland had been characterized as “close to a done deal” in early October, the league’s plan to add a 14th team in Oregon has been halted.

When the Oregonian published its initial report on the WNBA coming to Portland, sports columnist Bill Oram even pledged: “If I’m wrong about this one, I’ll eat my throwback Natalie Williams Portland Power jersey.”

Oram will have to eat his words, if not his jersey. The WNBA “has shelved” the Portland expansion, he reported Wednesday, as negotiations with entrepreneur Kirk Brown broke down late in the process.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert addressed a letter Wednesday to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, in which she called Portland “an ideal destination for a WNBA franchise” but pointed to the planned renovation of the proposed arena as a sticking point.

“In light of the potential renovation of the Moda Center currently anticipated to take place during consecutive summers, consideration of a WNBA franchise for Portland will be deferred for now until the timing and scope of the arena improvements are settled,” Engelbert wrote.

When the WNBA announced its expansion to the San Francisco Bay Area in early October, discussions surrounding a Portland team were in the late stages, even reaching the league’s Board of Governors.

The Bay Area team, which is under the umbrella of the Golden State Warriors ownership group, will be the 13th team in the league. The team is set to start play in 2025.

While Engelbert would not comment on the progress with Portland at the time of the Bay Area team was announced, she did say: “Our goal is to have a 14th team by 2025.”

Golden State’s WNBA team doesn’t have a name, or any players. But it already has a fanbase, based on its early season ticket sales.

Within the first five hours of opening season ticket sales Thursday, the expansion team received 2,000 deposits, the Warriors told ESPN. The WNBA had announced its expansion to the San Francisco Bay Area just hours earlier.

The demand for tickets shows resounding interest in the new team. And the Warriors are committed to doing whatever it takes to help the team succeed.

The Warriors ownership group committed to a record $50 million expansion fee to secure the WNBA franchise, with that number to be paid over 10 years, Sportico reported.

That is in line with to the recent NWSL expansion fees of $53 million. But it also indicates the changing value of WNBA teams; back in 2021, Mark Davis bought the Las Vegas Aces at a price of a little more than $2 million.

And Joe Lacob, majority owner and chairman of the Warriors, is committed to seeing the WNBA’s Golden State team to the top of the league – both financially and on the court.

“We will win a WNBA championship in the first five years of this franchise,” he promised Thursday, noting that the Warriors are planning to bring “all of our resources” to the team.

“We can put this machine to work and we’re going to do that,” Lacob told ESPN. “I believe we’ll have the No. 1 revenue of any WNBA team. 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.”