Saturday, June 15, 2024

WNBA expands internationally with Toronto as its first international team

Toronto WNBA Team Announcement and Expansion Details

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is expanding outside of the United States for the first time, with Toronto being announced as the new home of a team set to begin playing in 2026. The team, owned by Larry Tanenbaum-led Kilmer Sports Ventures, will be the first WNBA franchise in Canada.

Toronto received overwhelming approval for the expansion team, with the WNBA board voting 13-0 and the NBA board voting 29-1 in favor. The team, which will be owned and operated by Kilmer Sports Ventures, was purchased for $115 million. Tanenbaum, who also serves as the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, expressed excitement about the new franchise uniting Canada and inspiring pride in fans across the country.

The team is expected to play its home games at Coca-Cola Coliseum in downtown Toronto, with potential games in Vancouver and Montreal. The announcement comes as the WNBA continues to grow its presence both domestically and internationally. With the addition of Toronto, the league now has 14 franchises, with plans to expand to 16 teams by 2028.

Former Toronto Raptors executive Teresa Resch is set to be named as the new team’s president, bringing her experience to help lead the franchise. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his enthusiasm for the landmark deal, expressing excitement to see Canadian women compete on the WNBA stage.

The expansion of the WNBA to Toronto comes at a time of heightened interest in women’s basketball, with record viewership and attendance following the recent draft class. As the league continues to grow, the addition of a team in Canada signifies an important milestone in its expansion efforts.

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