WNBA expansion plans narrowed to 10 cities with the goal to announce by the end of the year

LAS VEGAS — The WNBA goes to develop. Exactly when and the place these new franchises will probably be is getting nearer to being a actuality.

(*10*) Cathy Engelbert stated Sunday, earlier than the Las Vegas Aces took a 1-0 collection lead in the WNBA Finals, the league has narrowed its focus to “about 10” cities that might host an expansion staff. The WNBA had a minimum of 100 cities into account the place it did its due diligence, Engelbert stated.

In regard to when these groups could possibly be introduced, Engelbert stated she and the league “would love to announce by the end of the year.” Earlier this year, Engelbert stated the goal is 2 groups that might begin enjoying no later than the 2025 season.

“We need to be sure the new possession group is ready up for achievement. So we are going to announce it when it is proper, when we now have reached agreements with completely different possession teams,” Engelbert stated Sunday. “But we proceed to work exhausting on it, but it surely’s been a fairly intense season and we’ll work even tougher in the offseason.”

There are further logistics different than simply location that want to be discovered.

“You want to discover the proper homeowners with the proper capital,” Engelbert stated. “We have to run an expansion draft, we now have to let our GMs know prematurely and head coaches what that is going to seem like. We are engaged on all of that. We have work streams round all of that.”

One of these expansion groups could possibly be in the Bay Area. Yahoo Sports reported this summer season on a bid by the African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) that facilities round the Oakland Coliseum Complex.

“Certainly the Bay Area, on the whole, together with Oakland or San Francisco, is definitely on our record, excessive on our record,” Engelbert stated. “… The W is in every single place proper now. But such an awesome market on the market given ladies’s faculty basketball [is] very talked-about in the Bay Area. Yes, that is positively on the record.”

Other cities that could possibly be front-runners for an expansion staff: Toronto, Philadelphia and Nashville.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks throughout a information convention earlier than the 2022 WNBA Finals on Sept. 11, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Engelbert introduced the league would maintain its first-ever preseason recreation in Canada subsequent season after beforehand having discussions earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic and coming off the most up-to-date collective bargaining settlement in early 2020.

“I feel the ease of the journey there throughout, once more, an intense coaching camp time that we had made Canada engaging to us, and once more, it is the demographics and youth and variety of the nation in some of these cities is the motive why we “I’ll begin there,” Engelbert stated. “But we might love to recover from to Europe, Asia, do an EMEA, do an Asian tour sooner or later in the future as we construct the economics of this league and the success of these gamers’ international manufacturers.”

The WNBA final performed internationally in 2011 when the Atlanta Dream performed a preseason recreation in Manchester, England. The league additionally hosted a preseason recreation in Monterrey, Mexico (2004).

Another route for expansion could be the implementation of a improvement league, similar to the NBA has with the G League. There is a pilot program, Force 10, for the 3×3 format that might develop into a viable pathway for the WNBA.

“It’s thrilling. It’s outside. It’s fast, 10 minutes with a really quick shot clock,” Engelbert stated. “I do know for individuals who studied it in the Olympics final year in Tokyo and the US profitable the first gold medal in that sport ever, it is the No. 1 hottest city sport in the world.

“… Force 10 has been a frontrunner, and you have seen different groups step up to sponsor groups on the 3×3 circuit. I’m actually inquisitive about the format, and I might see us piloting it as half of WNBA Live in the future as half of All-Star [weekend].”

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