WNBA league expansion still two to four years out
The GIST: Time is apparently just a construct for WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, who said earlier this week that league expansion is still “two to four years out” despite initial plans to announce expansion cities at the end of last year. The wrong kind of boxing out.
The context: With only 12 teams and too much talent to go around, players and fans alike have been clamoring for the league’s first expansion since 2008. Engelbert initially planned to name two new expansion cities by the end of 2022 which would join the W as soon as 2024, but she’s since pumped the brakes, saying recently, “we are not in a rush.”
- The audience certainly is, though. Viewership and engagement shattered records last year. Plus, the starpower runs deep at the NCAA level, making it all the more urgent to add pro opportunities for the next generation of W hoopers.
- For Engelbert’s part, she’s focused on long-term, sustainable changes, as evidenced by her similarly cautious stance on another hot-button issue: charter flights.
The contenders: When the W does finally expand, there’ll be no shortage of options to choose from. Engelbert’s comments came at an event to show support for bringing an expansion team to Portland, but there are still “about 10” cities in the running, including front-runners Oakland, Nashville, Toronto and Philadelphia. Stay tuned to see which receive the most coveted rose.