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WNBA reportedly awarding Toronto an expansion franchise to begin play in 2026

May 11th, 2024

Toronto will reportedly be awarded a WNBA expansion franchise which will begin play in 2026, according to Shireen Ahmed of CBC.

The franchise will be owned by Kilmer Sports Inc., led by billionaire Larry Tanenbaum, who helped bring the NBA’s Raptors to the city and is chairman of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NHL’s Maple Leafs, MLS side Toronto FC, the CFL’s Argos and the AHL’s Marlies.

An official announcement is expected on May 23.

Toronto will be the WNBA’s 14th team, following the Golden State franchise that will enter the league in 2025.

Per the CBC, the new Toronto team would not play at Scotiabank Arena. Instead, they will tip off at Coca-Cola Coliseum, an 8,000-seat arena that is home to the Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ top minor league team, and is owned by MLSE.

Toronto will follow Golden State's entry into the WNBA next season and be the league's 14th team. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Toronto will follow Golden State’s entry into the WNBA next season and be the league’s 14th team. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As talk of WNBA expansion has continued, Toronto has always been a city mentioned among the favorites to land a team, and Canadian fans have shown up.

The WNBA has played a preseason game in Canada in each of the past two seasons. In 2023, the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx played in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,923 fans at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Last week, the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm saw 16,655 people fill Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Adding the first professional WNBA franchise in Canada would only help the sport’s growth in the country as Michael Bartlett, president of Basketball Canada, told the CBC in March.

“Two specific things would help strengthen women’s basketball in Canada,” Bartlett said. “A domestic league for women, and then a professional WNBA team that would have the same lightning rod effect as the Raptors did.”

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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