May 19, 2024

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Toronto’s expansion team will join the WNBA in 2026, according to reports

Toronto’s expansion team will join the WNBA in 2026, according to reports

Toronto has secured a WNBA franchise that will begin play in 2026, according to multiple reports, when it becomes the league’s first team outside the United States.

The team will be owned by Kilmer Sports Inc., which is headed by Toronto billionaire Larry Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum is a minority owner and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Maple Leafs and Raptors, among other teams.

The new Toronto club will be the 14th team in the WNBA. Golden State’s expansion franchise is scheduled to join the league in 2025.

An official announcement is expected on May 23 in Toronto. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporationwhich first reported on the expansion franchise.

“We continue to engage in productive conversations with interested ownership groups in a number of markets but have no news to report at this time,” a WNBA spokesperson said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Kilmer Sports also said there was “no update at this time”.

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in April that Toronto was among the cities being considered for expansion and that the goal is to reach 16 teams by 2028. Other cities Engelbert mentioned for potential expansion are Philadelphia, Portland, Denver and Nashville in addition to the South. Florida area.

The Toronto team will reportedly play at the 8,000-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum, which hosts the AHL’s Marlies and the PWHL’s Toronto franchise.

Canada has proven it is ready to welcome women’s basketball. Last year’s preseason game between the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto saw a crowd of 19,800. Last week, a crowd of 16,655 packed Edmonton’s Rogers Place for a preseason game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm.

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