WNBA expansion: Commissioner Cathy Engelbert says league hopes to add one or two teams by 2024 season

Enlargement has been on the high of the want checklist for WNBA gamers and followers for the previous few years, and now it is on the verge of turning into a actuality. In an interview with The Athletic, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert confirmed the league is wanting so as to add one or two groups, and hopes to make an official announcement by the beginning of the playoffs in September. The brand new groups might be a part of the league as early because the 2024 season.

Whereas Engelbert mentioned the league has narrowed its checklist of attainable cities to 10-12, there’s nonetheless far more work to be executed earlier than any remaining choice. Any potential metropolis must have an enviornment in place, a big potential season ticket holder base and an funding group that matches with the league’s worth system. 

“There is not any crisp or clear components, however you see cities that rise to the highest fairly shortly,” Engelbert mentioned. “And we’re additionally our present WNBA franchise cities and evaluating what classes we have discovered and what’s labored and never labored during the last 25 years. We actually wish to arrange new house owners for fulfillment.”

An possession group led by former WNBA All-Star Alana Beard has been making an energetic push to deliver a workforce to the Bay Space, and that area would determine to be one of many main candidates. Different intriguing areas embody Toronto, Philadelphia and Nashville, as CBS Sports activities broke down in additional element final month

One other necessary subject surrounding enlargement, and one which’s been underneath mentioned partially due to the league’s intense secrecy surrounding its monetary state of affairs, is simply how a lot a brand new workforce would price. The Athletic reported that events have been working underneath the idea that the enlargement price could be within the $15-20 million vary, however Engelbert pushed again on that determine and steered it “sounds low, based mostly on latest transactions and income multiples — common income of a WNBA franchise should you take it on a a number of — it could be increased than what you described.”

The league has not expanded since 2008, when the Atlanta Dream joined, however latest modifications to the CBA and a expertise increase have made the present 12-team system untenable. Even in an ideal world, there would solely be 144 spots out there, however many groups do not carry a full roster because of wage cap issues, which makes it harder for gamers to stay round. 

Including a couple of new groups would create extra alternatives for gamers and assist alleviate the present roster crunch, which results in conditions like Crystal Dangerfield getting waived by the Minnesota Lynx lower than two years after profitable Rookie of the Yr, and Mya Hollingshed getting reduce in coaching camp weeks after being the No. eight total choose. 

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