A WNBA expansion team may land in the Bay Area
The GIST: The NBA’s Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob is finalizing a deal to bring a WNBA expansion team to San Francisco’s Chase Center, pending an official announcement in October. It's not only a great move for W growth, but should also prove how much a major market women's team can flourish with billionaire support from the get-go.
The details: The team will likely be headquartered at the Warriors' practice facility in Oakland, catering to a sportstown that is more than ready for the women's game. In addition, the league hopes to add multiple franchises by 2025 from a shortlist of 10 cities, including Toronto, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Portland, and Denver.
The blueprint: Lacob can look to fellow billionaires Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, who purchased the Liberty in 2019 and transformed it in five short years. The Tsais built a culture that allowed them to recruit a historic starting five, ultimately boosting ticket sales, viewership, and engagement. MVP Stewie isn’t the only one bringing value to Barclays, and that's the point.
The springboard: In terms of women's basketball experience, Lacob is light years ahead. He previously owned the San Jose Lasers in the American Basketball League, a now-defunct WNBA rival. Lacob also turned a $450M Golden State team into a $7B enterprise, and he can hopefully use existing Warriors relationships to replicate this success in the W.
The concerns: While expansion to the Bay meets the need for a surging market and provides much-needed roster spots, there are questions about whether an expanded league can meet players’ needs.