Monday, June 17, 2024

WNBA awards Toronto first franchise outside the US, expansion team to debut in 2026

Toronto Awarded WNBA’s First Franchise Outside the United States, Set to Begin Play in 2026

The WNBA is expanding internationally for the first time, with Toronto being awarded the league’s first franchise outside the United States. The team is set to begin play in 2026, thanks to Larry Tanenbaum-led Kilmer Sports Ventures, which is paying $115 million for the team.

Toronto’s new WNBA team will play at the 8,700-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum at Exhibition Place, with the ability to move games to the Scotiabank Arena. The team will also play some games in Vancouver and Montreal, showcasing women’s professional basketball across Canada.

Tanenbaum, also the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, expressed excitement about bringing a WNBA team to Toronto, filling a gap in the city’s sports scene. He emphasized the importance of women’s sports and the immense talent and passion in women’s athletics.

The WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, highlighted the growth potential of the league with the addition of international teams and the interest from other cities to join the league. She expects the WNBA to expand to 16 teams by 2028, providing more opportunities for women in professional basketball.

With Canadian players like Kia Nurse making an impact in the WNBA, there is a strong fan base and interest in women’s basketball in Canada. The new Toronto team will continue to grow the sport and provide opportunities for young players to pursue their dreams.

Overall, the addition of the Toronto WNBA team marks a significant milestone in the league’s expansion and showcases the growing popularity and importance of women’s sports on an international scale.

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